Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has put the blame of Manchester City’s weekend defeat to Liverpool on the shoulders of stand-in goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, suggesting a fully fit Ederson could have altered the result at Anfield on Sunday.
Ederson was ruled out after being withdrawn during City’s Champions League tie with Atalanta, in which Bravo proceeded to come on, concede a goal and get himself sent off.
Writing in his Sky Sports column, Merson felt that Bravo should have done more to prevent Liverpool’s opener, before implying that Ederson could have made a crucial difference to City’s fortunes.
He said: “The goalie has to save it [Fabinho’s opening goal], that can only go one place, that shot.
“Ederson is in a different league [to Claudio Bravo]. He is one of the best ‘keepers in the world, you would go as far as saying he is in the top 10 goalies of all time.
“Ederson and Bravo are like chalk and cheese, and he was a massive difference in that game as well – Ederson saves the first shot, no question about it, and then that could be a penalty as they have not scored a goal, so it is easier to turn it around.”
Ederson has been a hit since making a then-world-record move (in British pounds, at least) for a goalkeeper to City in 2017, bettering his first season’s total of league clean sheets by three when notching 20 last year as Pep Guardiola’s side retained the title.
We will never know what difference Ederson would have made, though it would seem a stretch to suggest City may as well accept defeat once being left with a Champions League-winning goalkeeper (albeit as a Barcelona sub) between the sticks – or that a referee would apply the laws of the game because of a save, as Merson suggests.
So while Merson’s appraisal of Ederson is fair, his slightly flippant view that the Brazilian alone would change the course of the game simply lacks the insight to be regarded as a probable outcome – especially with Liverpool clear victors on the day.
Can Manchester City still win the title?
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