Written by Daniel
Ok Fellow Liverpudlians ! Let’s Discuss Liverpool ! Let’s Talk Some Reds !
The best two teams of recent Premier League campaigns are locking horns again. Manchester City is bracing itself for its ultimate clash of the season. Liverpool is going to the Etihad on the back of 5 wins in the Premier League and in Europe. Will Liverpool’s make-shift defense be able to cope with the quality of the Manchester City forwards?
THE title picker
Liverpool and Manchester City are arguably the best two teams the Premier League has witnessed. They have accumulated wins on almost every match-day week after week for the last 3 seasons. Their dominance is unseen in Premier League history. Although there is an argument for the Manchester United and Chelsea squads in the 2000s to be the best, they have never got the number of points Liverpool and Manchester City have in the last three seasons. The matchup has always been a spectacle to watch considering the playing styles instilled by the two enigmatic coaches on them. The clash between the two giants has provided early clues on the title destination in the last two seasons. Moreover, at the Etihad, it has produced goals. So, expect a high-intensity game with a lot of goals.
The Guardiola evolution
The Guardiola evolution is probably in its final stage. The attacking masterclasses which we witnessed each weekend have somewhat diminished. There has been a shift in focus from attacking to defending in the current campaign. He probably is molding his team to be equipped for a deep run in the Champions League this time. Though they are unbeaten after their horror show against Leicester City, the goals have been difficult to come for them considering their usual high standards. However, City will be hoping to produce a title challenge worthy performance when they meet the champions.
THE MENTALITY GIANTS
Liverpool has gone from strength to strength in the current campaign, the Villa result being the only dark blot. However, the injury to Van Dijk is a blow to their ambitions this season. Summer signings Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota have been sensational thus far. However, Thiago has not been able to showcase his talent due to his injuries. The comeback wins against Arsenal, West Ham, and Sheffield United have again solidified their status as champions and importantly have proven that they are the Mentality Giants.
POSSESSION VS SPACE
Both the heavyweights play expansive possession-based football. However, there are differences in their approach, style, and outcome. Guardiola wants his team to control the match and thus keep the ball majority of the time. Klopp meanwhile relies on quick transitions and are more successful when given spaces to attack. The makeshift Liverpool allows Manchester City to come forward aggressively. But spaces left behind the City defense make them vulnerable to the Liverpool counter-attack. The midfield battle will be one to watch out for as Liverpool’s energetic trio will not give their more technical midfield counterparts much time to work around them.
The duels all over the pitch are exciting. The TAA and Sterling battle is a mouthwatering prospect. Alexander- Arnold needs to be spot on defensively to contain Sterling. His defensive abilities will be tested big time. However, the battle in the middle of the park would go on to decide the outcome of this match. Although Wijnaldum retains the ball better than Rodri in the midfield area, it is a toss-up between the two. And the likely winner would finish as the winner.
ONES TO WATCH
In the big games, the big players need to shine. De Bruyne, the likely match-winner in the Manchester City side, needs to work hard to outdo the workmanlike Liverpool midfield. Meanwhile, Salah has to make sure his finishing is lethal as chances may be at a premium. Lacing the Anfield boots would be a good idea.
Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool