Dietmar Hamann represented both Manchester City and Liverpool, Saturday's opponents, in his playing days. Now, working on German television, he is a dedicated contrarian.

The former midfielder's comments have irked Jurgen Klopp previously, while this week he was taking aim at Germany head coach Hansi Flick.

But when Erling Haaland was the subject of his criticism back in January, it was not Hamann's wildest take.

As City's superstar striker struggled in their derby defeat to Manchester United, Hamann posted on Twitter: "Man City was a better team without Haaland, even if he scores 40 goals this season."

It is easy to dismiss such a claim out of hand now, but there was at least debate at that stage in the season.

Almost three months on, that 40-goal mark has been passed in all competitions – Haaland is the only player in Europe's top five leagues to do so this term – and that conversation has quietly faded away.

If Hamann – or anyone else – was determined to revisit the discussion, however, Julian Alvarez's performance in a 4-1 win over Liverpool could be cited as evidence.

History-maker Haaland

Along with the sheer number of goals, Haaland's case until now has perhaps been helped by the increasing distance to the City of last season, a team without a traditional striker who won the Premier League title – something the class of 2022-23 may well not do.

Haaland has acknowledged he was signed to deliver glory in the Champions League, rather than merely another league success, but he has dominated domestically nonetheless.

In the Premier League, he has 28 goals, earning 20 points and making up 42 per cent of City's total prior to this weekend. All three numbers are club records.

So, news of Haaland failing to recover from a groin injury in time to feature on Saturday would have provided Liverpool some encouragement.

But as Pep Guardiola pointed out on the eve if the game: "In the past we also scored a lot of goals. Since we were here, and with Roberto Mancini and [Manuel] Pellegrini, always Man City was a team that scored a lot of goals in the season – with different players, different strikers."

And Alvarez has joined that group, a World Cup-winning striker eager to seize his opportunity in only his seventh league start of the season.

City's complete package

Alvarez might be considered a hybrid of Haaland and those who went before, as he illustrated against Liverpool.

The Argentina forward was on hand to equalise from close range when a flowing City move ended with Jack Grealish's low cross into the sort of position Haaland would usually occupy.

Another Alvarez shot led to the third goal, working space for an attempt that was deflected only as far as a grateful Ilkay Gundogan.

Alvarez had three shots, all from inside the box, worth a combined 0.82 expected goals. That could easily be a Haaland performance, the City number nine averaging 3.8 shots per 90, including 3.6 inside the box, worth 0.86 xG.

Yet the 23-year-old did more besides that, too. Only five of Alvarez's 32 touches were taken inside the box, his 15.6 per cent differing significantly from the 28.3 per cent of Haaland's touches that come inside the opposition's area.

As a result, Alvarez was far more involved in the build-up play than Haaland generally has been. He created two chances – Haaland averages 0.9 per 90 – but most importantly played a gorgeous pass out to Riyad Mahrez early in the second half, leading to Kevin De Bruyne's vital second goal.

Haaland surely would have hurt Liverpool, with Mahrez and Grealish piling forward on either side, but he would have done well to impact City's all-round performance as much as Alvarez did.

Liverpool lax at the back

Alvarez, Mahrez and Grealish undoubtedly benefited from another dismal defensive performance from Liverpool away from home.

"For one game, absolutely, they can beat everyone," Guardiola said of the Reds on Friday, and the data did not disagree. In a below-par campaign, they entered April having earned the most points in matches between this season's top six.

But they had still lost to Manchester United and Arsenal away from home, with their defeat of 10-man Newcastle United at St James' Park in February their sole success on the road in 2023.

Liverpool have lost at Brentford, Brighton and Hove Albion, Wolves and Bournemouth since the start of January, conceding 10 goals across those four matches.

A 4-1 defeat at City perhaps saw Liverpool get off lightly, as Klopp told BT Sport: "We were lucky they were not in the most greedy mood."

Mahrez and Grealish repeatedly exposed Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold; Robertson's failure to make a tackle on De Bruyne in the build-up to Alvarez's goal left Klopp with his head in his hands.

That can happen against City, but it can also happen against Chelsea and Arsenal – Liverpool's next two opponents.

Klopp's men must respond to have any hope of qualifying for the Champions League next season. Perhaps, in a one-off game against the Gunners, they could yet do City a favour.

Erling Haaland was not included in Manchester City's squad to face Liverpool on Saturday after failing to recover from a groin injury.

The Norway star has 42 goals in 37 games for City this season, but had been a doubt after suffering the injury that ruled him out of the recent international break, with Pep Guardiola saying on Friday that his star striker's availability remained uncertain.

Haaland was not even named among the substitutes, as Julian Alvarez took his place up front in the team to face the Reds.

Guardiola made six changes to the team that thrashed Burnley 6-0 in the FA Cup last time out as City aimed to keep the pressure on leaders Arsenal in the Premier League title race.

Ederson, John Stones, Manuel Akanji, Nathan Ake, Ilkay Gundogan and Jack Grealish came in for Stefan Ortega, Kyle Walker, Aymeric Laporte, Rico Lewis, Haaland and Phil Foden, who has also been sidelined after having his appendix removed.

Jurgen Klopp made two changes from the side that lost 1-0 to Real Madrid as Liverpool exited the Champions League last time out, with captain Jordan Henderson taking the place of James Milner in midfield, while Harvey Elliott came in for Darwin Nunez.

Klopp opted for a front three of Cody Gakpo, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah as Liverpool looked to give their top-four hopes a boost at the Etihad Stadium.

Erling Haaland is still recovering from his groin injury, with Pep Guardiola saying a final decision on his fitness for this weekend would be made later on Friday.

Haaland has enjoyed an astonishing first season at Manchester City, scoring 42 goals in all competitions – comfortably the most of any player in Europe's top five leagues.

But his momentum was checked heading into the international break by an injury that kept the forward from linking up with Norway.

City have a huge game against Liverpool on Saturday and are hopeful Haaland will be back, although Guardiola was eager to take his time with that call.

"Erling is recovering," the manager said. "We have the last training session and we will see how he feels."

Guardiola, who added Phil Foden would be out for "two or three weeks" following appendix surgery, was asked if he would risk Haaland if he was not convinced he was fully fit.

The City boss was happy to trust the 22-year-old's judgement, but he is also confident his side would cope without their superstar striker.

In the Premier League, Haaland has scored 28 goals, making up 42 per cent of City's total this term and earning 20 points. All three are high marks for a City player in a single season.

"The doctors and especially the players will decide," Guardiola said. "How does he feel? Yesterday I spoke with him and he feels good. But we will see, we will see what happens.

"We have scored a lot of goals this season, and he's scored an incredible amount of goals, but in the past we also scored a lot of goals.

"Since we were here, and with Roberto Mancini and [Manuel] Pellegrini, always Man City was a team that scored a lot of goals in the season – with different players, different strikers.

"They scored a lot of goals, which is what we will try to do until the end of the season."

City have scored the second-most goals across Europe in all competitions this season, with their 109 trailing Bayern Munich's 112. They are the only two teams to reach three figures.

Real Madrid need a transition plan as captain Karim Benzema heads towards his late thirties, and that could lead them to making a summer swoop for a new forward.

There has been plenty of speculation about Mohamed Salah's future with Liverpool over the past few months, even with the 30-year-old Egyptian being contracted to the Reds until 2025.

Rumours have continued to emerge about a possible move, but Madrid also reportedly have their eye on Victor Osimhen, Harry Kane and Rasmus Hojlund as they consider various options.

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID WANT A NEW STRIKER

Real Madrid might see Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah as an option for an off-season transfer, claims Defensa Central.

The report claims Los Blancos could consider Salah while they also look at other possible acquisitions, including Napoli's Serie A top scorer Victor Osimhen and Tottenham's ever-prolific Harry Kane.

Karim Benzema turns 36 later this year, and Madrid will need other proven frontline options for when the Frenchman steps away from the spotlight.

Rasmus Hojlund, who has settled in well at Atalanta this season, is also said to be admired at Madrid, no doubt helped by him scoring five goals in his first two starts for Denmark during the recent international break.

ROUND-UP

– The Guardian claims Mason Mount is open to a move to German champions Bayern Munich amid swirling rumours about their new boss Thomas Tuchel's interest in a reunion. Mount and Chelsea have reportedly reached a stalemate in their discussions on a new contract. Tuchel left Chelsea in September.

– Manchester City have identified Borussia Dortmund's Youssoufa Moukoko as a target, reports Football Transfers. The report claims City are fearing Erling Haaland's exit but could use any incoming funds to facilitate a move for the Dortmund forward.

– David de Gea has rejected Manchester United's initial new contract offer which he believes is not adequate, according to The Athletic. The 32-year-old Spanish goalkeeper is out of contract at the end of this season, with United proposing a pay cut in his new deal. The report states an agreement on new terms is expected to be reached.

– Bayern are not interested in either of West Ham's Declan Rice or Chelsea's Mateo Kovacic, reports Sky Sport Germany's Florian Plettenberg.

Erling Haaland has done rather well for Manchester City since arriving.

Fine, that may be something of an understatement. The 22-year-old has filled his boots and then some since he moved to the Etihad Stadium from Borussia Dortmund last year.

Haaland has 42 goals in 37 games for City, with 28 of those coming in 26 Premier League appearances.

Pundits will say they had their tongues firmly embedded in their cheeks when some suggested the Norwegian might find English football trickier to conquer despite his domination of the Austrian and German top-flights, but few could have anticipated such a relentless flow of goals.

Those doubts appeared after Haaland's blank against Liverpool in the Community Shield defeat in his first official outing for the club, while he also failed to score in City's 1-0 loss at Anfield two and a half months later.

He did find the net against Liverpool in their EFL Cup fourth-round win in December though, and should he be fit to take the field against Jurgen Klopp's men on Saturday, Haaland will be hoping to get closer to a record that many thought would never be broken.

With 11 games remaining, Haaland is just seven short of claiming the record for the most goals in a single Premier League season, with Andrew Cole in 1993-94 for Newcastle United and Alan Shearer for Blackburn Rovers a year later both managing 34, albeit in campaigns that lasted 42 games.

Haaland is just four behind Mohamed Salah's record for a 38-game Premier League season, set in 2017-18.

So perhaps the question is not 'will he break the record?' but 'when?'

Haaland has missed just one league game so far, and the injury that caused him to pull out of Norway's Euro 2024 qualifiers did not sound particularly serious, so even if he does miss the visit of Liverpool, he still has plenty of time to find the necessary goals.

After all, he scored eight in his last two games before the international break, hitting five against RB Leipzig in the Champions League before another treble against Burnley in the FA Cup.

As they fight Arsenal for the league title, City's remaining fixtures see them face Liverpool (h), Southampton (a), Leicester City (h), Arsenal (h), Fulham (a), West Ham (h), Leeds United (h), Everton (a), Chelsea (h), Brentford (a) and Brighton and Hove Albion (a).

With the leaky defences of Liverpool, Saints and Leicester this season, it would not be a complete shock if he has already reached the magic number of 35 by the time he lines up against Arsenal for a crucial title clash.

In the corresponding fixtures against those 11 opponents, Haaland scored 10 goals (two against West Ham, Leeds and Brighton, one against Southampton, Fulham, Arsenal and Everton, zero against Liverpool, Chelsea and Brentford and he did not play at Leicester), so even repeating his efforts against them will be more than enough.

 

With 28 goals in 26 league games, Haaland is averaging 1.1 goals per game. That means if he can play in each of City's remaining games, he should reach 40 by the season's end.

That could be asking a bit too much from him, especially considering City also have a Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich coming up, and head coach Pep Guardiola has been known to rest his stars for league games once that competition gets to the latter stages.

Continuing the rate though – assuming he continues to play and the re-arranged game at Brighton is not scheduled beforehand – would see him break the record against Leeds on May 7, appropriately a former club of his father.

While reaching 40 might be beyond him – emphasis on "might" – finding the seven required to overtake Cole and Shearer actually seems borderline routine for a player who has produced the numbers he has.

In just the Premier League, Haaland has four hat-tricks, as many as the rest of the league combined (Phil Foden, Son Heung-min, Leandro Trossard and Ivan Toney all on one).

He also doesn't have to worry about opportunities being created for him by his immensely talented City team-mates, having had 43 Opta-defined "big chances" – a chance from which a player would be expected to score – 15 more than the player with the next most (Toney).

Haaland's shot conversion rate of 31.1 per cent is also well above any other player to score at least six goals in the Premier League this season, ahead of Brighton duo Kaoru Mitoma and Pascal Gross (both 26.1 per cent).

 

He averages a goal every 75.6 minutes, comfortably ahead of Newcastle's Alexander Isak (103.8), Tottenham's Harry Kane (119.3), Leeds' Rodrigo Moreno (123.1) and Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (129).

Former Newcastle and Manchester United striker Cole recently told Stats Perform it "doesn't bother" him if Haaland breaks his record.

"I've said to people it doesn't bother me in the slightest, I don't care. If someone deserved to break that record, go ahead and do it," he said.

"I don't care if he does it. I'll be the first one to congratulate him. Records are there to be broken."

It looks like a record that will indeed go soon, and it may be the first of many that the irrepressible striker shatters.

Arsenal can improve on their superlative Premier League form, believes Wes Morgan, who also lauded Erling Haaland's Premier League start.

The Gunners lead the title race this season, holding an eight-point lead over defending champions Manchester City.

Mikel Arteta's side have been the team to beat in the English top-flight this term, and could end a near-two-decade wait for the crown if they hold their nerve.

But Morgan, who famously captained Leicester City to the Premier League title in 2016, feels that they may still have a way to go before they hit their ceiling.

"Arsenal, they've been building over the last couple of seasons," he told Stats Perform. "That young squad firing at the top of the league, [it should not be a surprise].

"They will only get better and better from this experience this season. I don't see why they can't continue the good work they've been doing and get even better."

"There's still plenty of points up for grabs. It's down to them to see if they falter. Anything can happen in football, but it's down to Arsenal to lose it."

City have been kept on Arsenal's heels by Leeds-born Norway international Haaland, whose tally of 28 goals this term is edging him closer to the Premier League single-season record of 34.

Morgan feels he has the potential to write more history, adding: "He's incredible. I love watching him, [with] his power, his pace. I'm not sure how I would cope against him.

"He's taken the Premier League by storm. I hope he breaks all the records. He's given himself a high bar for next season, but he's a fantastic player. I'm glad he's in the Premier League for us to watch."

Both teams return to action on Saturday, with Arsenal due to meet relegation battlers Leeds United and City set to face former title rivals Liverpool.

Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk remains a "world-class player" who is as capable as anyone of keeping Manchester City striker Erling Haaland quiet.

That is according to former Reds striker Robbie Keane, who also told Stats Perform talk of Jurgen Klopp departing Anfield is "absolutely ludicrous".

Van Dijk's form for club and country has been the subject of much debate, with Netherlands greats Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit heavily criticising the defender this week.

On the back of the Netherlands' 4-0 loss to France, Van Basten accused Van Dijk of "making noise but not saying anything" and creating chaos in the side.

Fellow former Netherlands international Gullit, speaking alongside Van Basten in his punditry role with Ziggo Sport, said Van Dijk "thinks he is better than the rest".

Experienced defender Van Dijk faces arguably the toughest challenge in world football this weekend when Liverpool travel to City on their return to Premier League action.

Haaland, who is expected to be fit despite pulling out of Norway's squad, has scored 42 goals at club level this season – 11 more than any player across Europe's major leagues.

But Keane believes Van Dijk is more than able to keep the prolific striker quiet in Saturday's contest at the Etihad Stadium.

"The number of goals Haaland has scored is incredible for such a young player," Keane said. "He's certainly suited to this league and he's powerfully strong.

"When you're playing a team like Man City, who create the chances they do, you know as a striker you've always got a chance to score goals.

"But then you have someone like Van Dijk, who is a world-class player. If there's anybody that can keep [Haaland] quiet, it's certainly him."

 

Liverpool have won just one of their past 13 Premier League away games against City, with that solitary victory coming in November 2015 when winning 4-1.

The Reds were beaten by Bournemouth last time out in the league and will finish the campaign trophyless following Champions League elimination at the hands of Real Madrid.

Klopp has been asked numerous times about his future in what has been a poor campaign for Liverpool, but Keane does not expect him to go anywhere at the end of the season.

"If I'm being totally honest, I think it's absolutely ridiculous people are even questioning Jurgen Klopp, if he should leave this club or not, absolutely no way," he said. 

"The only person I think should get to decide that is Jurgen Klopp after what he's done for this football club. It's not going to happen. No way. The fans love him. 

"I know the owners love him being here, so it would be absolutely ludicrous for people to suggest that he would leave."

Liverpool have taken 12 points from 13 Premier League away games this season, compared to 30 at home – the biggest difference (18 points) between any side in the division.

They are running out of time to climb into the top four, but Keane is confident Klopp is the right man to rebuild the squad regardless of what happens over the next two months.

"The team, like any other team, goes through bad spells and that seems to be happening this year," added Keane, who spent one season with Liverpool in 2008-09.

"Jurgen Klopp, he's very good at rebuilding. So I'm sure he'd be trying to get into the top four the season with 10 games still to go. 

"He won't be resting. We know what he's like, the character he is. We hope to get into the top four and then I'm sure he already has one eye on next year and ready to go again."

Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw has already prompted comparisons to Erling Haaland for her goalscoring exploits, and a Manchester City team-mate believes she can be the world's best player.

Jamaica striker Shaw has scored 26 goals in 23 games in all competitions for City this season, including 15 in 15 in the Women's Super League.

The 26-year-old has averaged a goal every 86 minutes in the league – not quite on par with men's star Haaland, who has scored every 76 minutes in the Premier League, but close enough for onlookers to note the similarities.

City manager Gareth Taylor did not shy away from comparisons between the "pretty remarkable" pair last week, explaining how both are "so mentally strong".

It is that quality that might yet make Shaw the world's best, with England defender Alex Greenwood backing her City colleague.

"I'm not surprised she's doing what she is doing, and she still has so many levels to go to, which is quite frightening to be honest," Greenwood told BBC Sport.

"I think she can be the best in the world if she wants to be. She has all the attributes to be the best in the world.

"I know how hard she works in training. It's the reason she's flourishing right now.

"She's been really strong for us, so we just need to keep feeding her, keep giving her the ball, and the rest she'll take care of."

Erling Haaland is a "real pleasure" for Phil Foden to play alongside at Manchester City.

The Norwegian forward has been in devastating form in his inaugural campaign in the Premier League, leading the scoring charts with 28 goals in 26 matches.

Haaland's heroics have not just been limited to the push for the title, in which they trail Arsenal by eight points but hold a game in hand, having entered the international break with eight goals in his last two matches.

In the FA Cup against Burnley, Haaland secured his hat-trick by tucking home a rebound after Foden had struck the post, leaving the England international puzzled by his excellent positioning.

"It's a pleasure, I don't know how he does it. The one that I hit off the post, he always seems to be in the right place, expecting things, little ricochets, and things like that," he told Talksport.

"The way his brain works, he always seems to be in the right place to finish the ball, and to play with a player like that it's always a massive boost for us because when it's a tight game and it's 0-0, there's not a lot of chances, we've been relying on him to get us a goal and it's a real pleasure to play with him."

Despite Haaland's stellar record in front of goal, some have queried whether City's number nine limits the style of play that Pep Guardiola's side have become accustomed to, but Foden does not see it that way.

"He's helped us in a way of finding a different way to play," he explained.

"In previous years we didn't really have a striker, and now he's here we've adapted a little bit, and we're even still getting used to him now, so it's good for the team, and it's only going to help us in the future.

"It makes my job easier being an attacking player and looking at someone that wants to score goals and is always ready and in the box it makes it a lot easier."

Erling Haaland will return to Manchester City for a follow-up check on a groin injury after pulling out of Norway's squad for their first two Euro 2024 qualifying fixtures.

The superstar striker scored a hat-trick as City beat Burnley 6-0 in the FA Cup quarter-finals at the weekend, which followed a five-goal haul in a 7-0 Champions League drubbing of RB Leipzig.

Haaland joined up with his Norway team-mates as they prepare to face Spain and Georgia but will not play in either of those fixtures.

Team doctor Ola Sand told the Norwegian Football Federation's website: "We hoped that this would carry over to Saturday but after doing tests and examinations yesterday it became clear that he will not make it to the games against Spain and Georgia.

"It is better that he receives medical follow-up at the club."

Norway boss Stale Solbakken added: "Erling took it hard when he realised that he could not fight for the team. 

"Fortunately, there is still plenty of self-confidence, talent and cohesion in this group to win points in the next matches."

City will hope the injury is not serious ahead of a busy period following the international break, starting with a crunch Premier League clash at home to Liverpool on April 1 as Pep Guardiola's side aim to bridge the eight-point gap to leaders Arsenal.

A trip to Southampton then precedes the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie at Bayern Munich on April 11.

Haaland has scored 42 goals in just 37 appearances during a prolific first season at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola joked he took Erling Haaland off against Burnley to preserve a Lionel Messi record.

The Norway international scored his sixth hat-trick of the season in Saturday's FA Cup quarter-final at Etihad Stadium, four days after his five-goal haul in the Champions League demolition of RB Leipzig.

Manchester City boss Guardiola was criticised by some after substituting Haaland in that match, denying the striker the chance to break the record for the most goals scored in a Champions League clash.

Haaland now shares that record with Paris Saint-Germain forward Messi, and Guardiola could not resist a quip when facing the media after the 6-0 win against Burnley.

"I didn't want him to break the record for Messi. I try to punish my players – it is my intention!" he joked.

On a more serious note, Guardiola praised Haaland for his mentality and believes that is integral to his stellar record.

"This guy will have a problem in the future because everyone will expect to him to get three or four every game, and that's not going to happen," he added.

"But I know him, he doesn't care about that. He is so positive and optimistic in his life. He never complains and, as long as the team plays with this intensity, he will score goals, though the exact target, I don't know.

"He is so effective and is such an incredible threat with his power. But his joy of life, always thinking good things will happen, that helps too."

Haaland's tally in all competitions now stands at 42, putting him just two shy of the record held by Ruud van Nistelrooy and Mohamed Salah across all competitions in the Premier League era.

The City number nine will have plenty of opportunities to surpass that total, with Guardiola's side set to continue their fight on three fronts after the international break.

Erling Haaland revealed he has not set himself a target of goals for the season after hitting another hat-trick in the Manchester City's 6-0 FA Cup win against Burnley.

The Norway international took home the match ball for the sixth time this season in all competitions, with his latest feat at Etihad Stadium coming four days after hitting five in the Champions League against RB Leipzig.

With his latest exploits steering City into the semi-finals of the FA Cup, Haaland's tally in his maiden campaign with Pep Guardiola's side now stands at 43 – becoming the sixth Premier League player to break the 40+ total and first since Harry Kane (41) and Mohamed Salah (44) both did so in 2017-18.

Further records are sure to tumble for Haaland, and the City number nine does not intend to take his foot off the gas at any point.

"It's been a good couple of games, with important goals and 7-0 and 6-0 wins before the international break – it's impressive and I'm really happy," he told BBC Sport.

"Every goal means a lot to me, every goal for the team means a lot. To win 6-0 is an amazing thing against a really good Burnley side. I'm really happy and now the next game is at Wembley.

"We are in the part of the season where we should be at our best. Of course, we should be at our best all the time, but now it's where things get decided.

"We have to perform. The last couple of games have been finals, and that's exactly what we are doing.

"I have not set a target [of goals] this season. As a striker, I love to score goals, but my focus is not on scoring goals, it's getting the chances. If you get the chances, there's a chance to score, so that's what I try to focus on."

Erling Haaland scored his sixth hat-trick of the season as Manchester City swept Championship leaders Burnley aside in a 6-0 victory in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

Just days after hitting five against RB Leipzig in the Champions League, the Norwegian added another match ball to his collection after a dominating performance.

Julian Alvarez netted a second-half brace either side of a Cole Palmer strike, ensuring a miserable return to Etihad Stadium for Clarets boss and former City captain Vincent Kompany.

It leaves City's quest for a treble well and truly on, with an FA Cup semi-final now added to the schedule for Pep Guardiola's side.

City dominated possession from the off but early opportunities were limited, though Haaland characteristically popped up to beat Bailey Peacock-Farrell to Alvarez's through ball, tapping beneath the Burnley goalkeeper to open the scoring after 32 minutes.

The former Borussia Dortmund striker repeated the trick to double City's lead, finding space at the far post to tuck home after Phil Foden's driven ball across the face of goal, with just 179 seconds separating the two strikes.

Haaland secured his hat-trick before the hour mark with his easiest goal of the game, smashing into an empty net after Foden's low drive bounced into his path off the right-hand post.

Three minutes later, City grabbed a fourth as Alvarez got in on the act, tapping home from close range after Kevin De Bruyne put the ball on a plate for the Argentine striker, with substitute Palmer adding another after Peacock-Farrell could only palm Foden's cross into his path.

City were not done, Alvarez latching onto De Bruyne's inviting through ball and turning Ameen Al Dakhil in the box before firing in his second and wrapping up another big win.

Julian Nagelsmann is excited by the opportunity to face Manchester City and Erling Haaland in the Champions League, believing the Norwegian striker could be an even tougher opponent than Kylian Mbappe.

Bayern Munich eliminated Mbappe and Lionel Messi from the tournament when they beat Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16, and were drawn to face City in the quarter-finals on Friday.

Should they progress again, Bayern will then go up against holders Real Madrid or Chelsea in the semi-finals, having already faced Inter, Barcelona and PSG in this season's Champions League.

"I think it's a very good draw, a difficult draw but I think if you win the title at the end then you would not like to hear that we were lucky with our draws," Nagelsmann said at a press conference ahead of Bayern's Bundesliga clash with Bayer Leverkusen.

"We want to win it and do it by beating big teams. We've had PSG, we had Inter and Barcelona in the group stage, so now City and then Real Madrid or Chelsea, then probably an Italian opponent in the final, it would be a triumph that would certainly send a big message to everyone.

"It's going to be difficult, we know that... we will prepare well and I think everyone is looking forward to it."

Bayern will need to handle former Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland better than RB Leipzig, who conceded five to him in the last-16 second leg at the Etihad Stadium.

"He's a tremendous player, he has great abilities... he's probably a little more physical than Mbappe and certainly comparable in pace," Nagelsmann said. "He has great heart, when he runs it's difficult to defend against him, but we also have a couple of strong offensive players."

The 35-year-old is also an admirer of City boss and former Bayern head coach Pep Guardiola, but said he does not model his ideas on the Spaniard, or indeed, any other coach.

"I saw a lot of games when he was at Barcelona, also at Bayern and City," Nagelsmann said. "I never really copied any things from him, I've never really analysed or copied anything from any other coach.

"Pep's teams are always nice to watch, he always has a nice idea to play football. [City] have a very balanced team."

Hasan Salihamidzic believes Bayern Munich will be ready to face Manchester City after being paired with the "strongest possible opponent" in Friday's Champions League quarter-final draw.

City recovered from a shaky first leg against RB Leipzig to thump them 7-0 at home and secure their place in the last eight with an 8-1 aggregate victory.

Bayern, meanwhile, impressively eased past French champions Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 on aggregate to set them up for a tie against City which will see Pep Guardiola return to the club he coached between 2013 and 2016.

Bayern sporting director Salihamidzic is relishing the opportunity to face off against one of the favourites, telling reporters: "I like playing against the good teams.

"Our boys are very focused and this is a top tie. It's a tough opponent, the strongest possible in my opinion.

"So this is another little final. After Paris, this is again a group we have to play that has a lot of quality.

"They won very convincingly against Leipzig. We will see Pep Guardiola again and I'm looking forward to the games."

Prolific striker Erling Haaland has scored 39 goals in all competitions since signing for City, including five against Leipzig in City's second-leg rout on Tuesday.

But while Salihamidzic acknowledged the quality Haaland and City possess, he has confidence in his team's defence to hold up against such a formidable attacking force.

"Haaland is one of the best strikers in the world," Salihamidzic added. "He does it very, very well.

"But we defended very well against Paris. I believe that we perform best against the best teams.

"These are also the highlights of the season for the fans. This is a top pairing. I'm looking forward to it."

Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn feels games against the likes of City are a great litmus test for whether the Bavarian side have what it takes to go on and lift their seventh Champions League.

Like Salihamidzic, he appeared to be relishing the challenge.

"Manchester City are an absolute top team, but we are Bayern Munich," Kahn said.

"We must and will be ready for this big opponent. If you want to win the Champions League, you have to beat the best.

"That's the challenge - and we're happy to take it on."

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