Losing ​Sergio Aguero to a thigh strain is, to paraphrase Brasseye, the one thing Pep Guardiola and Manchester City didn't want to happen as they look to hunt down Liverpool.


The Sky Blues' title defence has begun poorly, with Jurgen Klopp's gegenpressing pace-setters currently nine points clear of the champions with December just around the corner. 


However, City's mounting injury problems have no doubt played a role in creating that cavernous gap.

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-CHELSEA

Aguero is the ninth member of Guardiola's squad to hop on the treatment table this season, joining several key figures in the rehab process. It doesn't make up for several sub-par performances from the side, though it does explain some of their struggles in 2019/20.


Here's a roundup of all nine ​City players to have picked up an injury this term.


Sergio Aguero

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-CHELSEA

Guardiola will be without the club's greatest ever goalscorer for ​'a few weeks' after he limped off during Saturday's enthralling clash with ​Chelsea


Aguero didn't add to his tally of nine ​Premier League goals in that 2-1 triumph for the Citizens, having been slightly off the boil against the Blues. Nevertheless, his absence could prove terminal for City in terms of winning the title. 


Gabriel Jesus is a decent replacement, but the Brazilian cannot offer what Aguero provides up front - no one can. Without the Argentine's goal threat, victories will be significantly harder to come by.


Aymeric Laporte

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-BRIGHTON

When Aymeric Laporte was left in a heap following a rash challenge on ​Brighton's Adam Webster, the Etihad Stadium went deathly silent. Everyone knew what could happen to City's backline without him at the heart of it.


All those fears have been proved true. The Frenchman has now missed 16 games in all competitions, a period in which the Sky Blues have looked rather fragile defensively. 


City's soft underbelly has been exposed in devastating fashion. ​Norwich are amongst the teams to have punished them, the Canaries taken advantage of their weakened opponents to win 3-2.


Laporte's comeback can't come quick enough, but it's not too far off, with the centre-back expected to return in January.


Leroy Sane

Leroy Sane

Leroy Sane tore his anterior cruciate ligament at Wembley as the Citizens downed ​Liverpool in the Community Shield, meaning he'll have missed well over half the season by the time he's fit again.


February is the month the German is due to resume first-team action but it's looking increasingly likely the Premier League title will be beyond his team by that point.


David Silva

David Silva

Fortunately for Guardiola, David Silva's unavailability for the recent 3-1 defeat at Anfield was only precautionary, the Spaniard having tweaked a muscle in his thigh in the previous match.


Losing their captain was far from ideal as City prepared for a crunch encounter with Liverpool, but it's doubtful El Mago could have pulled a rabbit out of the hat on Merseyside. His side appeared well off the pace as they were outclassed and overpowered.


Rodri

FBL-EUR-C1-MAN CITY-ATALANTA

A hamstring strain saw £62m summer signing Rodri sit out a handful of fixtures in late October and early November, forcing Guardiola to make full use of his stellar squad.


In came Ilkay Gundogan, who has been a standout performer this year. That doesn't change the fact the German is best used in a playmaking role, with Rodri clearly the strongest option to anchor Pep's midfield.


Ederson 

Ederson

Ederson was nowhere to be seen for the humbling at the hands of Liverpool after the goalkeeper strained his thigh away to Atalanta in ​Champions League matters.


Although City were without their number one for just a single match, it was a game that could define their season. His reliability and calming presence would have been mightily useful in the cauldron that is Anfield.


John Stones

John Stones

It took John Stones five weeks to complete his recovery following damage to his thigh in September, the England international missing eight of his club's fixtures in that period.


With their first-choice pairing unavailable, City were forced to field Rodri and Fernandinho at centre-back. Given the duo's relative inexperience there, things could have been far worse - they even managed a clean sheet at ​Crystal Palace.


Benjamin Mendy

Benjamin Mendy

Knee problems and operations have hampered Benjamin Mendy's career in Manchester, yet it was a tight hamstring that saw him sidelined in the early months of the campaign.


Oleksandr Zinchenko had the left-back position on lockdown back then. The Ukrainian has since undergone a knee surgery of his own, making Mendy's timely return all the more important.


Oleksandr Zinchenko

Oleksandr Zinchenko

Zinchenko will have been absent for over ten matches by the time he completes his rehab, which should be early in December.


It was only minor surgery for the 22-year-old, who had secured a starting berth in Guardiola's lineups before he sustained the issue during a 5-1 destruction of Atalanta.


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