Jamie Carragher wasn't having any laughter from Micah Richards after suggesting that Erling Haaland may have "picked the wrong club" in Manchester City.
Striking sensation Haaland, who's scored 25 Premier League goals this season, found himself frustrated on Sunday as Tottenham Hotspur pulled off a rousing 1-0 win against an out-of-sorts City. After Pep Guardiola's reigning champions missed the chance to go within two points of title rivals Arsenal, question marks arose over how anonymous the usually threatening Haaland was throughout the 90 minutes.
Picking up on Haaland's concerning lack of involvement, Carragher claimed the 22-year-old Norwegian striker is only playing at "60 per cent" of his capacity in a piece of analysis which prompted laugher from former City defender Richards. "He may've actually picked the wrong club to actually get the best out of him," Liverpool legend Carragher began on Sky Sports.
"You're laughing [Micah], but we're not seeing everything of Erling Haaland, and Manchester City now, not because of Erling Haaland, we can say they're a different team, but they've scored exactly the same amount of goals. He's scored 25 Premier League goals, but Man City as a team have scored the same amount of goals, and they're conceding more, and it's far easier to counter attack them as well, so they're a different team, and a lesser team with Erling Haaland in the team."
With fellow pundit and ex-Liverpool stalwart Graeme Souness agreeing with Carragher, Richards retorted by saying: "It's impossible to see the full package, though, because when teams play against Man City they go deep. We're talking about a striker that's scored 25 goals, and today he didn't have his greatest game, I'll agree with you, he had no touches in the opposition box.
"But this is what the Premier League is, he knows what Man City do - they dominate the ball, like you said, they recycle it and wait for the space in the box. I would understand more if he'd only scored 15 goals, but he’s scored 25 goals so he’s still getting the numbers."
Carragher fired back and affirmed: "I'm not criticising him, what I’m saying is him as a full package when we're talking about one of the best players in the world, I think he's that good he's scored 25 goals but we’re only seeing 60, 70 per cent of him because we're not seeing that power or blistering pace.
"Again, because of the way Manchester City play, but we've got to come back to the fact that no matter how many goals he scores as an individual - the team’s bigger than any individual - the team have scored the same amount of goals this season."
Remaining steadfast, Richards then insisted: "It's just different. It's not about being better or not, we’ll see at the end of the season." Carragher quickly responded, stating: "But it's not better."
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"It's different," Richards went on. "It doesn't look as good, it's not as tidy on the eye. It's not coming into the false nine and playing off different positions, it’s not that, but in front of goal it's potent."
Carragher had the final say, declaring: "The attack hasn't changed, the goals are still there. Haaland's been sensational, the goals that he's got for Manchester City.
"The problem that was massive today is how easy they are to counter attack and get at, and maybe that's because they've got a fella who plays right up front, he's not in the midfield position to stop a counter attack. It's far easier to get at Manchester City now, as we saw today, and that's the big problem.