BERNARDO SILVA says Manchester City’s ‘Special Ron’ will strike fear into the hearts of the Kop tomorrow afternoon.
The Portuguese international reckons new boy Erling Haaland has the kind of predatory instincts he has only seen before in Cristiano Ronaldo.
And he hopes with the 20-goal Norwegian Terminator on board, the champions have the ‘weapons’ to bury their Anfield hoodoo once and for all.
City have won only once at the home of Liverpool since 2002 –— and that came in February 2021 when the stadium was empty.
But now they have Haaland, 22, who has already scored on Merseyside, back in his days playing for Red Bull Salzburg.
His explosive start to life at City has led Bernardo to compare him to his long-term international team-mate CR7 — who netted his 700th club goal at Everton on Sunday.
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The former Monaco man said: “I was speaking with a few friends the other day and I said he is the only player who gets close to Cristiano in terms of knowing where the ball will land inside the box.
“He’s got that smell of knowing where it lands and he’s so quick and strong, which is not easy for the defenders.
“Can he reach the same standards? Well, I’m playing with Erling so I hope so but the standards are so high.
“Cristiano has won five Ballon d’Ors, five Champions Leagues.
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“You never know what will happen in the future. Erling’s still very young, still got a lot to do but the mentality is there, so yes.”
Pep Guardiola’s men have the edge over Liverpool in terms of trophies won, leading the Premier League title count 4-1 over the last five years.
But the Reds have enjoyed the better of the head-to-heads.
City have won only three of their last 14 meetings in all competitions — and none of the last four.
Yet Bernardo believes the prospect of facing an in-form Haaland will have their old rivals worried.
He told Arab News: “We have always had good results over the last few years but it’s true that now we have a player up front that is so strong, big.
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“And the other teams fear a little bit of that. Personally, I feel if me and the other midfielders and defenders do our jobs properly then we have so much quality up front.
“Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Erling, they can decide the games, they can take care of the rest.
“But we have to do a proper job, control the rhythm of the game and then we know the weapons we have up front.”
Incredibly, City’s win on Merseyside in the Covid-hit 2020-21 season was only their second at Anfield in four decades.
Yet Bernardo says they are making the short journey down the M62 in good heart after an impressive start to the season.
He added: “We know how difficult it is to play at Anfield, with their crowd, but we are going to try because we are feeling good at the moment.
I’m amazed by the way Erling's such a nice guy
“We have always tried to win there in the past but just couldn’t. We won just one season there, for many different reasons and in different circumstances.
“But the team feels good. Our levels of confidence are very high at the moment.”
Liverpool have been City’s main rivals over the past few seasons but find themselves down in mid-table — and 14 points off the top this morning.
Their hopes of challenging for the title will surely be over if they lose tomorrow but Bernardo says Jurgen Klopp’s men are just as dangerous as ever.
He said: “It doesn’t make any difference how they have started, what their form is like, honestly.
“What they did in the last five years you can’t look at them and think, ‘Oh, they are a bit weak at the moment’. No chance.
“They are so strong and it is going to be so difficult for us.”
Having Haaland in their line-up is sure to help though — and Bernardo says it is not just the goals that have impressed his team-mates.
There have been plenty of them already, of course, but the £51.4million striker’s willingness to work like a ‘beast’ for his new club has stood out.
Silva added: “The goals, we knew he could do that.
“But I’m amazed by the way he’s such a nice guy and accepts he is just one more player in the team.
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“If you see him running in games, he presses like a beast, like each one of us, that’s top.
“The humility of knowing that it doesn’t matter how good you are or how much better you are. You have to set the example and run more for the team — and he does that.”
- CITY (likely): Ederson, Akanji, Dias, Ake, Cancelo, Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva, Grealish, Haaland, Foden.
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