Man City are reportedly facing an anxious wait to determine whether or not Fernandinho will be available to face Liverpool on January 3.
Back-to-back defeats in the Brazilian’s absence have left Pep Guardiola’s men in third place in the Premier League table, seven points adrift of leaders Liverpool.
While they face Southampton first this weekend, they welcome Liverpool to the Etihad Stadium next Thursday night for what could potentially already be a crunch showdown in the title race.
Guardiola will be fully aware that they can ill-afford to fall further off the pace, and a win over Jurgen Klopp’s men could deal a real blow to their confidence after making such an impressive start to the season.
In turn, the Spanish tactician will be desperate to have as close to a fully-fit squad available, but ESPN note that he faces a concern over Fernandinho as to whether or not he’ll recover in time to face either Southampton or Liverpool.
It’s arguably more than a mere coincidence that Man City have fallen to defeats without him over the past week, as it emphasises his importance to the team and exposes their lack of a viable alternative in such a crucial role.
While they will perhaps look to address that issue in January or next summer, it doesn’t help them in the more immediate future and so Guardiola will be hopeful that Man City get their Brazilian stalwart back for the Liverpool clash to lead by example in the heart of their midfield.
If he fails to recover, Man City will have to find a solution. Based on their last two results, they haven’t been particularly successful doing so thus far.