ERLING HAALAND has been backed to break the Premier League scoring record and reach 50 this season, if he stays fit.
The Norwegian is off to a sensational start at Manchester City, scoring 19 goals in his first 11 games, 14 of them in the league.
Alan Shearer and Andy Cole both got 34 in a single season, and that’s been the benchmark for more than 25 years.
But when asked if star Haaland could make it to half a century, his City team-mate Manuel Akanji said: “If he stays healthy then I think there’s nothing that can stop him, yes.”
The Swiss international has been Haaland’s team-mate at club level for the last three years, as the two were together at Borussia Dortmund.
He knows how to approach the 22-year-old but is not prepared to give any advice to his rivals ahead of today’s visit to ailing Southampton, who have lost 9-0 twice in Prem’s history.
Haaland is on the hunt for a fourth successive Etihad hat-trick after trebles against Manchester United, Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace.
Akanji told talkSPORT: “I try to stop him in training and I know how I do it, but I hope other defenders can’t do it and he keeps scoring.
“So I’m not going to give them any help. We need a finisher and he really helps the team a lot.”
Newcastle’s Prem strikers Callum Wilson and West Ham’s Michail Antonio said on their podcast that they expect Haaland to beat Prem’s record for most goals in a single season.
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That currently stands at 34 and boss Pep Guardiola said: “It would be nice if records were broken. If he keeps up this pace, who knows?
“After Community Shield, people had a lot of doubts, but now there are a lot of certainties. Either way, no one knows what’s going to happen.
“We will see at the end of the season how many goals and how many chances we had to win the title.”
Meanwhile, Guardiola says he could offer a job as club chef to Haaland’s father, Alfie, whose pre-match lasagna seems to be working.
Haaland has been feasting on the baked pasta dish his father made the night before games at the Etihad and seems to be working with twelve goals already looming in his new stadium.
Guardiola smiled: “We can get Erling’s father to come cook for us.
“If this is the secret of Erling’s goals, I will convince our President Khaldoon to bring him here. But I think there is not a single secret of their goals.”