Men's Team

Goater excited to see Haaland v van Dijk battle

Former City strike legend Shaun Goater says anyone who loves football will be relishing our clash with Liverpool this weekend - and he’s especially excited to see Erling Haaland and Virgil van Dijk square off.

We face the Merseysiders at Anfield on Sunday at 16:30 (UK time) for what is rightly viewed as one of the standout fixtures in the calendar.

Goater is counting down the days until the game and will be keeping a very close eye on the battle between two of the Premier League’s most gifted talents in their position.

Haaland has blazed a trail since joining City at the start of the season, bagging 20 goals in all competitions already.

Van Dijk has established himself as one of the top-flight’s finest defenders since joining Liverpool in January 2018.

Speaking on Tuesday’s latest edition of Matchday Live, Goater insists both will be eyeing victory in the match and, also, in their own individual tussle out on the pitch.

He said: “Virgil van Dijk is not quite at his best at the moment but if you love the game, you want to see the two best players facing up to each other. You want to see the great teams facing each other when they’re both in form.

“But I think it’s one of those games where Virgil van Dijk himself, no matter what form he’s in, he wants to be raising his bar back to his best to say: ‘Today Haaland ain’t scoring. City ain’t scoring.’ He will be up for that.


“But at the same time, Haaland will be thinking ‘It’s about time they know about me, in terms of if they don’t already know, they’re going to know’.

“So I think it’s a beautiful game to be watching and seeing who comes out on top.

“I think Haaland himself has said that Virgil van Dijk is one of the toughest defenders he’s played against. The two of them will try to get the best of each other.”

Liverpool are currently sitting 10th in the league and, if City were to beat Liverpool on Sunday, it would lead to a 16-point gap between the teams, albeit with the Reds having played one less.


And Nedum Onuoha, a colleague of Goater on our popular Matchday Live show, believes that statistic puts added pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s men to pick up three points.

He added: “Come the end of the season, they want to be where City are. They want to be challenging like they have done historically to be going for a league title.

“They’ll know that the game, for them from their perspective, is a must win.

“That seems a crazy thing to say in the middle of October but that is kind of what it feels like because that gap, as it continues to get bigger, it applies more pressure.

“Before you know it they’d have to not just win say three or four games in a row, you’re talking nine, 10, 11.”