Manchester City suffered a double blow in their Premier League title assault at Anfield yesterday, with a 3-2 defeat to Liverpool compounded by Yaya Toure limping off with a groin strain in the first half.
Manuel Pellegrini has revealed that the giant Ivory Coast midfielder may well have to sit out the remainder of the Premier League campaign, leaving a considerable gap in the City midfield.
Javi Garcia deputised for Toure yesterday when he was removed, and it is likely that the Spaniard or another defensive option will replace the African for the time he is unavailable.
This shift in personnel will place an increased emphasis on Toure’s usual central midfield partner Fernandinho, with the Brazilian harbouring the responsibility of driving his side forward from the centre of the park.
The ex-Shakhtar Donetsk man has operated as a stringent and disciplined enforcer this term, but was renowned during his time in Ukraine for forward running and thunderous shots from range.
Toure’s absence will actually go some way to unleashing the South American’s attacking tendencies, that have largely been sacrificed this term in favour of positioning and defensive responsibilities.
For Fernandinho, this may well be just the opportunity he needs to cement a place in Brazil’s World Cup squad this summer.
The City man was named in a recent squad, but faces tough opposition to be included for the tournament.
With the presence of Luiz Gustazo, Ramires, Lucas Leiva, Paulinho and others, Fernandinho may well get a chance in the rest of this term to remind Luiz Felipe Scolari of his attacking abilities as well as his usage as an enforcer.
With Gustavo and Lucas more than likely set to fight it out for the defensive midfield role in Brazil’s 4-2-3-1 formation, there is every likelihood that Fernandinho could be considered for the more offensive of the two central midfielders if he can star in City’s season run-in.