Tuesday night saw Liverpool’s title rivals Man City take on Atalanta in the Champions League. Whilst the Citizens ran out comfortable winners, the game could have potentially cost them dearly. Man City have suffered yet another set back due to a Rodri injury sustained during the first half.
City cruised past Atalanta last night. Pep Guardiola’s side went one goal down early in the first half after Fernandinho clumsily brought an Atalanta player down in the box and the subsequent penalty was converted. A sublime Raheem Sterling dink through to Sergio Aguero was promptly finished off to restore parity before the English winger was brought down for a penalty which the Argentine dispatched well. The former Liverpool winger put in a world class display, scoring a second half hat-trick to end the game 5-1 to Man City.
However, a blow in the first half may have dented Man City’s chances in upcoming games. Big money signing Rodri sustained a hamstring injury just before halftime, forcing him to limp off. He was replaced by the not fully fit John Stones. Guardiola signed the midfielder from Atletico Madrid for a club record £62.8m over the summer. With Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones suffering injuries in recent weeks and Aymeric Laporte out until the new year, Rodri has had to fill in at centre back. He lined up in the City defence at Selhurst Park over the weekend and against Atalanta on Tuesday night.
With John Stones only just returning from injury and not fit enough to start the game against Atalanta, a Rodri injury is a huge blow for Guardiola. Stones is fragile to say the least, to rush him into regular action sooner than expected could serve to worsen his injury woes. The longer than City are forced into a makeshift defence, the longer they are vulnerable against weaker sides. Although it’s never nice to see a player injured, this could be a huge boost for Liverpool’s title ambitions.