BERNARDO SILVA says Manchester City’s ‘Special Ron’ will strike fear in the hearts of the Kop tomorrow afternoon.
The Portugal international reckons new boy Erling Haaland has the kind of predatory instincts he’s only seen in Cristiano Ronaldo until now.
And he’s hoping the champions, with the 20-goal Norwegian Terminator on board, have the ‘arms’ to bury his Anfield hoodoo once and for all.
City have only won once at Liverpool’s home ground since 2002 – and that was in February 2021 when the stadium was empty.
But now they have Haaland, 22, who has already scored on Merseyside during his time at Red Bull Salzburg.
His explosive start to life at City has led Bernardo to compare him to longtime international team-mate CR7, who scored his 700th club goal at Everton on Sunday.
The ex-Monaco man said: “I was speaking to some friends the other day and I said that he’s the only player who comes close to Cristiano when it comes to knowing where the ball is going to land in the box.
“He has this smell of knowing where it lands and he’s so fast and strong, which isn’t easy for defenders.
“Can he reach the same standards? Well I play with Erling so I hope so but the standards are so high.
“Cristiano has won five Ballon d’Ors and five Champions Leagues.
“You never know what will happen in the future. Erling is still very young, still has a lot to do, but the mentality is there, so yes.”
Pep Guardiola’s men edge Liverpool in terms of trophies won and lead the Premier League title tally 4-1 for the last five years.
But the Reds enjoyed better head-to-head play.
City have won just three of their last 14 meetings in all competitions – and none of the last four.
However, Bernardo believes the prospect of facing an in-form Haaland will worry their old rivals.
He told Arab News: “We’ve always had good results in recent years, but it’s true that we have such a strong, big player up front now.
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“And the other teams are a bit afraid of it. I personally feel that if I and the other midfielders and defenders do our job properly then we have so much quality in attack.
“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 decent 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-stricken 2020-21 season was only their second at Anfield in four decades.
Still, Bernardo says they’re embarking on the short journey on the M62 with good hearts after an impressive start to the season.
He added: “We know how difficult it is to play with their crowd at Anfield but we’ll try because we’re feeling good at the moment.
I’m amazed that Erling is such a nice guy
“We’ve always tried to win there in the past, but couldn’t. We only won one season there, for many different reasons and under different circumstances.
“But the team feels good. Our self-confidence is very high at the moment.”
Liverpool have been City’s main rivals in recent seasons but find themselves in mid-table – and this morning 14 points off the top.
Their hopes of fighting for the title will certainly be dashed if they lose tomorrow, but Bernardo says Jurgen Klopp’s men are just as dangerous as ever.
He said: “Honestly, it doesn’t matter how they started, what their form is.
“You can’t look at what they’ve accomplished in the last five years and think, ‘Oh, they’re a little weak right now.’ No chance.
“They are so strong and it will be so difficult for us.”
Having Haaland in their line-up will certainly help though – and Bernardo says it’s not just the goals that have impressed his team-mates.
There have been plenty of those of course, but the £51.4million striker’s willingness to work like a ‘beast’ for his new club has been shown.
Silva added: “The goals, we knew he could do that.
“But I’m amazed at how nice he is and accept that he’s just another player on the team.
“When you see him running in games, he pushes like a beast, like any of us, that’s great.
“The humility of knowing that it doesn’t matter how good you are or how much better you are. You have to lead by example and run more for the team – and he does.”
- CITY (likely): Ederson, Akanji, Dias, Ake, Cancelo, Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva, Grealish, Haaland, Foden.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6448182/haaland-compared-man-utd-ronaldo-bernardo-silva/ ‘He’s the only one who comes close to Cristiano’ – Haaland versus Bernardo Silva’s Man Utd star Ronaldo