(Reuters) – Manchester City keeper Ederson will miss Sunday’s Premier League match against leaders Liverpool due to a muscle injury with Claudio Bravo set to replace him in goal, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday.
Ederson, who leads the Premier League with five clean sheets this season, was forced off at halftime in Wednesday’s 1-1 Champions League draw at Atalanta and the Brazilian was seen walking with a limp after the game.
Bravo was sent off late in the game, forcing City to play defender Kyle Walker in goal for the final 10 minutes, but Guardiola said he trusted the experienced Chilean to deliver in the top-of-the-table clash.
“He (Ederson) is not able to play on Sunday. We have another top goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo can do it too,” Guardiola told reporters.
“We won the Carabao Cup and FA Cup thanks to Claudio Bravo. He’s an exceptional goalkeeper… an international goalkeeper. I have no doubts.
“I see him every day in training. We won’t lose because of Claudio. The red card the other day was because we lost the ball. Respect the guy, he’s an incredible top goalkeeper.”
Liverpool and City played out a goalless draw at Anfield last season and though some questioned Guardiola for City’s defensive mindset, he said it was a consequence of adapting to Liverpool’s strategy.
“Sometimes you want to adapt to teams as good as Liverpool,” Guardiola said. “Sometimes people have to recognise that we are playing the champions of Europe. Being defensive was not the plan, it was so good that they pushed us deep.
“They do everything well. You see the team, what is the weak point? They are a real complete team and we need this kind of rival.”
A win for Liverpool will see them extend their lead over the defending champions to nine points and Guardiola said that if that were the case, it would become tougher to reel in Juergen Klopp’s side that lost only one game last season.
“I think in November it (the title race) never ends,” he added. “I know what is going to happen if we lose… I think we have a lot of games to play, a lot.
“It will be more difficult of course. If you see Liverpool, they lost one game last season and this season they are unbeaten. So you can imagine or think they are not going to lose many games.
“When he (Klopp) took over the team they were not real contenders to win the Premier League. And he did it — in three or four years he built something marvellous to watch.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)