Pep Guardiola explains Kalvin Phillips absence against Liverpool.
Pep Guardiola offers a frustrating explanation for Kalvin Phillip’s absence against Liverpool.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has stated that he left midfielder Kalvin Phillips out of the team to face Liverpool on Thursday because the Englishman returned from the World Cup ‘unfit to exercise’.
In the last seconds of City’s season-opening game against West Ham, Phillips played his lone minute of Premier League football this year before suffering a shoulder injury that made him doubt his ability to make England’s World Cup selection.
After a 40-minute return in the Carabao Cup, Phillips was included in Gareth Southgate’s squad and he went on to make two appearances at the World Cup, coming off the bench against both Senegal and Wales for a combined 40 minutes.
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However, Guardiola gave a direct explanation for why he wasn’t included in City’s lineup that defeated Liverpool on Thursday.
“Kalvin Phillips is not fit. He did not arrive in the best condition to train and play,” the boss said after the game.
The boss offered no further information on Phillips’ fitness but did confirm City’s fears about centre-back Ruben Dias, who also missed the game after picking up a hamstring injury while away at the World Cup with Portugal.
“Ruben has a hamstring from the last game in the World Cup and he is out,” Guardiola said.
Reports have suggested that Dias is facing around a month on the sidelines, which means he could miss Premier League clashes with Chelsea and Manchester United ahead of a race to prove his fitness ahead of a trip to Tottenham on February 5.