Julian Alvarez Prepares for His Toughest Challenge Yet Against Manchester City: Insights on the Rising Football Star
Julian Alvarez could be about to face his biggest Man City test yet Manchester City are sweating on the fitness of Erling Haaland ahead of the Premier League fixture with Liverpool.
Except for Pep Guardiola and Julian Alvarez, no one expected Julian Alvarez to have the impact he has at Manchester City.
When it was revealed that City had signed the next great South American talent in January 2022, but that he would remain at River Plate for the rest of the season, it seemed like a familiar story. The Blues had moved to sign an intriguing player with considerable potential, but it appeared unlikely that he would be lining up in Guardiola’s side anytime soon, if ever.
It’s happened to hundreds of young players around the world, and many thought Alvarez would join them on loan. There was interest, but CEO Ferran Soriano revealed in May that it would be a different story for him. He stated: “We’ve had numerous loan offers from clubs, but Julian Alvarez isn’t going anywhere. He’ll join us for preseason and I believe he’ll stay.”
Even so, few expected him to play a significant role in the upcoming season.
Then he was given the No.19 shirt. Then Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling were allowed to leave without being replaced by any wide forwards. It quickly became clear how highly Alvarez was regarded and that he would not only remain, but also become an important player.
He scored in his first minute on the pitch against Liverpool in the Community Shield, and he now has 12 goals and four assists in his debut season in England. It’s even more impressive given that he had to wait for a starting spot due to Erling Haaland’s incredible form.
Alvarez has impressed, but it appears that his best is yet to come. He might get the chance to show it after the international break is over.
City are currently concerned about Haaland’s fitness after he suffered a groin injury in the win over Fulham, which brought his tally to nine goals in the last three games. The Norwegian sensation was forced to withdraw from the international squad, has been to City’s partnered hospital in Barcelona for tests, and is currently recuperating in Marbella. His father, Alf-Inge, believes he’ll be ‘touch and go’ for the Blues’ match against Liverpool.
Being without Haaland, especially in his current form, would be a huge blow, but it would also be a huge test for Alvarez, who has rarely been tasked with leading the line on his own in big games. In fact, Alvarez has only started without Haaland twice in the league, against Fulham and Leicester. More than a third of his 15 starts have come alongside Haaland, and the ones he hasn’t come against lesser opposition in cup competitions, such as FC Copenhagen, Southampton, and Bristol City.
Liverpool may be a wounded beast at the moment, but they are still a very talented team that often raises their game when facing City. Playing up front against them, particularly Virgil van Dijk, is a difficult task, as Haaland discovered in October. If the No.9 is unavailable, it will be interesting to see if Alvarez can fill in. He’ll be up for the challenge after signing a new contract last week, and success could lead to more starts.
There is evidence that Alvarez is capable. He started twice against Chelsea, easily the most difficult opponent he has faced, in both domestic cup competitions, and scored in both victories. He also has a track record of scoring when named to the starting XI, with nine of his 12 goals coming when he was named to it.
Starting against Liverpool without Haaland would be Alvarez’s most difficult challenge yet at City, but given his track record, he should pass with flying colors.