The Argentinian World Cup winner continued his strong start to the season with two goals as the holders began their Champions League title defence with a comfortable 3-1 win over Red Star Belgrade on Tuesday.
An injury for Kevin De Bruyne has seen Alvarez handed a run of games in support of prolific centre forward Haaland and it is a role he is relishing.
FULL-TIME | Three points secured on opening night! 🤩
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 19, 2023
“I am very happy with the goals, to help the team,” the 23-year-old said. “We are doing well, we are winning – which is the most important thing – and playing good games.
“I am trying to adapt and I continue growing in this position, where I am moving freely, to give the team another option and add to the attack.”
Alavarez was the dominant figure in City’s forward line as they threatened to overwhelm Red Star in their opening Group G game at the Etihad Stadium.
Yet despite creating a plethora of chances – with Haaland hitting the bar and goalkeeper Omri Glazer making several saves – City fell behind to an Osman Bukari strike just before half-time.
Alvarez began the fightback with a fine dinked finish after the restart and then put Pep Guardiola’s side ahead when his free-kick was inadvertently punched into the goal by Glazer.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) September 19, 2023
Rodri wrapped up a thoroughly deserved victory with a typically composed finish 17 minutes from time but, again, City could have had several more. Haaland went the closest when he hit the goal frame for a second time.
“We played a good game,” said Alvarez. “It was important to start with a win and three points at home in this difficult competition. We are very happy.
“We had many chances we could not convert but Pep told us to keep doing what we were doing and the goals would come.
“It was the same in the previous game where we were losing and came back, so it was fine. We always try to stay calm, play well in the second half and win.”
Alvarez was not a regular starter last season, despite his starring role in his country’s World Cup triumph, but Guardiola believes he can do an important job in easing the goalscoring burden on Haaland.
Guardiola said: “It’s the same player as last season but being a World Cup winner doesn’t mean you have to play all the time.
“Last season we had Kevin and (Ilkay) Gundogan in that position. Kevin was in top form and Gundo was incredible.
“In that moment sometimes it was difficult to find spaces but I never had a doubt.
“Now Gundo has gone and Kevin unfortunately is injured. We need players to be close to Erling, don’t put all the responsibilities just on the shoulders of Erling to score all the goals.
“That’s why when Phil (Foden) has played there, when Julian plays there, we have the feeling that we create a lot of chances.”