Why Jack Grealish missed Man City's Premier League game against Liverpool

  • Jack Grealish was one of several absentees for Man City's Premier League meeting with Liverpool on Saturday
  • Pep Guardiola only named six outfield substitutes
  • Grealish started England's final qualifier in the November international break

Jack Grealish was notable by his absence on Saturday
Jack Grealish was notable by his absence on Saturday / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Manchester City may have all the riches in the world but Pep Guardiola was only able to name six outfield players on his substitutes' bench for Liverpool's visit to the Etihad on Saturday lunchtime.

Nine replacements are available in each matchday squad but City only deployed eight, two of which were taken up by goalkeepers Scott Carson and Stefan Ortega.

City's record signing Jack Grealish was notably not included in this abridged list of substitutes. The England international started for his country against North Macedonia on Monday night, five days before the lunchtime kick-off, and lasted 84 minutes.

The £100m winger had not sustained any injury on international duty but "felt unwell" as his manager Pep Guardiola revealed ahead of Saturday's match. The Catalan coach helpfully mimed the unpleasant act while searching for the word "vomit" before revealing that Grealish was back at home.

Grealish has only started three Premier League matches this season. The 28-year-old missed the beginning of September with a hamstring complaint but has been forced to watch on from the sidelines even when fit given the emergence of Jeremy Doku.

Jack Grealish
Jack Grealish is yet to score for Manchester City this season / Ryan Pierse/GettyImages

City's Belgian summer arrival is one of the division's most potent dribblers and has coupled his energy with end-product already, recently racking up four assists in a single game against Bournemouth.

However, Grealish brings a layer of control that is decidedly lacking from Doku's repertoire - which makes his game far more entertaining. When looking for the stability that an extra pass brings, Guardiola has turned to Grealish - as he did in City's triumphant Manchester derby last month.

Up against a Liverpool side that is lethal in transition, it stands to reason that Guardiola may have leaned upon Grealish's control rather than Doku's chaos. A stomach bug which has swept through the squad denied Guardiola that option.

John Stones made the bench against Liverpool but Guardiola revealed that he "is not ready either". Grealish's compatriot had endured an injury-ravaged start to the campaign, with Guardiola predicting that the centre-back would be "out for a while" earlier this month.

City have been without Kevin De Bruyne since the first league game of the season, losing the influential Belgian to a severe hamstring problem after just 23 minutes of the new campaign.

Summer signings Matheus Nunes and Mateo Kovacic were also absent with muscular problems, limiting Guardiola's options against Liverpool considerably.

The Catalan coach will receive little sympathy given City's exorbitant wealth but pointedly reflected that his weak bench was a consequence of "modern times". Guardiola signed off his pre-match interview with a typically sarcastic line: "We'll play with 11, that's for sure!" Grealish wasn't one of them.