Man City news: Expert issues 'incredible' Ruben Dias verdict ahead of Liverpool clash
Ruben Dias’ absence was “so noticeable” as Man City twice surrendered a lead to draw against Liverpool on Sunday (10 April), according to Noel Whelan.
The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 24-year-old would have prevented Sadio Mane’s second-half leveller.
Man City drew 2-2 with Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium to preserve their one-point lead over the Merseysiders atop the Premier League table.
John Stones started in place of Dias – who hasn’t played for City since 1 March.
Man City face a crucial double-header against Atletico Madrid and Liverpool this week.
Whelan claimed the centre-back’s presence could be the difference between winning and losing ahead of these season-defining games.
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“Dias is their main man, isn’t he? He’s been fantastic since he came to the club,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.
“He’s so important, and a real leader. His absence was so noticeable at times against Liverpool.
“For me, I don’t think that pass from Salah to Mane for the second goal gets through if Dias is playing ahead of Stones.
“It’s those tiny percentages which can win and lose you a game. His positioning and organisation is just incredible.
“It was such a brilliant game. It was a joy for everyone to watch, even for the neutral.”
Both Man City and Liverpool have seven games remaining in the Premier League.
The two sides could face off in the Champions League final this season as well as this Saturday’s (16 April) FA Cup semi-final.