Pep Guardiola is ready to unleash Julian Alvarez if Erling Haaland is ruled out of Manchester City’s clash at Leicester on Saturday.

The Norwegian striker was replaced at half-time in Tuesday’s Champions League clash at Borussia Dortmund due to lingering effects of a fever, fatigue and a knock to the foot.

Haaland was replaced at half-time against Dortmund and remains a doubt for Saturday’s trip to LeicesterGetty

Guardiola admitted on Friday that Haaland ‘feels better’ and will assess his fitness after training.

But should Haaland miss out at the King Power Stadium, Guardiola has confirmed that the Argentine star Alvarez will deputise for the 17-goal striker against Brendan Rodgers’ rejuvenated side.

“Normally if Erling [Haaland] is not ready then Julian [Alvarez] is the first option,” Guardiola told reporters during his pre-match press conference.

“He can play as a false nine but I think this is not going to happen. When Erling is not ready then Julian is the first option.

“If he plays 90 minutes every game, he will score goals. Maybe not like Erling, but he will score goals.”

Alvarez joined up with his City teammates this summer after signing for the club in January from River Plate.

Guardiola is ready to call upon Alvarez if Haaland is unavailable for this weekend’s clashgetty

After signing, he spent the following six months on loan at River Plate whilst City secured another Premier League title in May.

Alvarez netted on his competitive debut in the Community Shield defeat to Liverpool in July and netted his two Premier League goals in City’s 6-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest in August.

Meanwhile, the Manchester City boss expects a tough test for his side at Leicester and reserved special praise for Rodgers in the face of some trying times at the King Power Stadium.

“Really tough,” said Guardiola when asked what type of game he is expecting from the Foxes. “Their best moment of the season is when we face them. But it doesn’t matter what position [in the table] they’re in, always it is tough because of the quality they have, the experienced manager.

Guardiola insists Leicester are back after an upturn in form for the Foxes in recent weeksGetty

Rodgers has steered Leicester to three wins in their last five outingsRex

“Especially in the bad moments, how they and he reacts incredibly well. He knows exactly what he has to do. When everything is going well it’s easy to be a manager, the problem is how you handle it when it’s not going well.

“The expectations are always there at Leicester because of what they’ve done in the past, winning the Premier League and FA Cup, Community Shield, always being near the top, not qualifying for the Champions League in the final games when it was in their hands.

“It’s not easy to handle, but you have seen they have lost one game in their last four or five so that means they are back.”


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