Gary Neville believes Aymeric Laporte’s injury and their failure to buy a centre-back will cost Manchester City points.
Laporte is sidelined with a knee injury, leaving Pep Guardiola with only John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as his senior centre-backs following Vincent Kompany’s departure this summer.
Guardiola was interested in Harry Maguire but City refused to match Manchester United’s willingness to cough up for the centre-back. That failure to recruit coupled with Laporte’s injury could cost the Premier League champions, according to Neville.
“If Aymeric Laporte’s injury is a serious one, it is a big problem for City,” the former Man Utd captain told Sky Sports. “I said a few weeks ago that I was struggling to understand why City didn’t follow through on Harry Maguire with Vincent Kompany leaving the club.
“I thought Kompany won them the league in the last 10 matches of last season when he played in all those games. Forget the Leicester moment which was just spectacular, I thought his leadership held them together at a time when Liverpool were applying pressure like you wouldn’t believe.
“In terms of that leader-type figure, I think Laporte has got that.
“I think this will cost City points. To be fair, there is no one better in the world at coaching than Pep Guardiola, full stop. And there is no one better at making what would be make-shift centre-backs play well.”
If City do drop points, Neville believes Liverpool will capitalise.