Pep Guardiola taking no risks with Sergio Aguero ahead of Liverpool’s visit

Pep Guardiola has admitted Manchester City can ill afford to take any chances with Sergio

Pep Guardiola has admitted Manchester City can ill afford to take any chances with Sergio Agüero’s fitness ahead of Sunday’s match with Liverpool.

The City manager is hoping to welcome back the Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus, possibly as a substitute against Olympiacos in the Champions League at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, after six weeks out with a thigh injury sustained in the opening day win over Wolves.

Jesus’s return before the visit of the Premier League champions at the weekend would be a boost for City but Guardiola fears the game could come too soon for his other senior striker, Agüero, who has been sidelined for the past 10 days.

Agüero had only recently returned to action after four months out following knee surgery when he picked up a hamstring injury in the 1-1 draw at West Ham and Guardiola is loathe to take any risks with the Argentine, even if he will make a decision on the player’s availability against Liverpool later in the week.

“Right now I don’t know,” the City manager said when asked about the prospect of Agüero being available to face Liverpool. “He’s getting better but right now I don’t know.

“We don’t want to make a step back again but he’s getting better, it’s not so dangerous as we believed when he felt something in the last game against West Ham but he’s getting better. I don’t know about Liverpool but after the international break for sure he’ll be ready.”

Jesus trained with his City team-mates on Sunday and Guardiola could name the Brazilian on the bench for the Olympiacos game, providing there is no reaction in training beforehand. “It’s too early to know it, we’ll see the last training, he’s getting better,” Guardiola said.

“He did one training session with part of the team because he has to do regeneration. We’ll see but he’s happy he’s back. We’re awaiting Sergio but we’ve been happy with Ferran [Torres] so we have another alternative and he can play without a doubt in this position.”

Winger Torres has deputised as a striker in Agüero and Jesus’s absence in the last matches against Sheffield United and Marseille, which City won 1-0 and 3-0 respectively.

But despite his injury headaches, Guatdiola has challenged his players to wrap up qualification for the Champions League knockout stages as quickly as possible. City will more or less secure their progress to the Round of 16 if they beat Olympiacos home and away in their next two group stage games. “We have an incredible opportunity to make a huge step to the next round now,” he said.

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