Written by Daniel
Ok Fellow Liverpudlians ! Let’s Discuss Liverpool ! Let’s Talk Some Reds !
REDS’ TITLE DEFENSE
The exciting and unpredictable Premier League season is throwing us another crucial title showdown. The big games so far in this campaign have been disappointing, to say the least. However, Liverpool’s matchup against Manchester City usually brings out the best in both sides. With the title on the line at Anfield, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp needs to conjure an ultimate master plan. The Citizens have lost their attacking ruthlessness and Liverpool their defensive steel in Virgil Van Dijk. As such, the midfield area is likely to be the deciding factor for a positive result in the coming weekend Premier League showdown at Anfield.
The Cityzens attacking trio, Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne have been relatively quiet and goal shy throughout the current campaign. Their unavailability on the pitch due to injury troubles has coincided with Cityzens’ attack losing their ruthless streak. The fluidity of football, accustomed to Guardiola’s City is gone. And it is being replaced by a result-oriented possession-based system. Moreover, missing Kevin De Bruyne makes it all the more difficult for Manchester City to win at Anfield where they have rarely enjoyed visiting.
IN FORM FRONT THREE
Liverpool attack has been synonymous with the front three of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino since the 2017/18 EPL season. Unfortunately, their lean patch in the months of December and January coincided with the team’s recent winless run that almost put them out of the title chase. Fortunately, the front three are back in prime form at exactly the right moment, silencing their doubters in typical grand style. This spells bad news for Ruben Dias and John Stones, who have formed a rock solid partnership at the back, but will have their hands full with the irresistible force of Liverpool’s frontline.
Liverpool’s injury troubles never seem to cease. The nightmare scenario has been getting worse week after week. The latest loss of Joel Matip for the season is a knockout blow indeed. However, the new January signings seem to have offered some solace looks to the Liverpool fanbase. Kabak and Davies are promising additions to the squad, providing some much needed cover at the back. However, they must immediately hit the ground running under this emergency situation as the defending champions are under severe pressure to regain their title winning form.
Space VS POSSESSION
The possession football against ‘gegenpressing’ has produced classic football matches in the past campaigns. City under Guardiola control matches by the possession of the football. The attacking midfielders occupy the spaces in between the lines and slide in chances for the attackers. Meanwhile, Klopp’s Liverpool are equipped for quick transitions with deliveries from the full backs in wide spaces being the major threat. In the current season, Liverpool have evolved with Thiago Alcantara in their ranks. Pep’s men will need to look out for his scintillating drifting runs from the deep and perfectly weighted passes to the front three.
ONES TO WATCH
The duels on the wings and in the final third will understandably be fascinating, but the midfield battle will be the one to keep an eye out for. Liverpool and City are likely to employ a three man midfield with Wijnaldum and Rodrigo in the anchor role respectively. However, the midfield maestros, motivated Thiago Alcantara and an in form Ilkay Gundogan will be the ones critical to their teams’ momentum in attack.
Liverpool Starting XI ( 4 – 3 – 3 )
A. Becker, A. Robertson, Fabinho, O. Kabak, T. Alexander-Arnold, G. Wijnaldum, J. Henderson, Thiago, S. Mane, M. Salah, R. Firmino
Manchester City Starting XI ( 3 – 4 – 3 )
M. Ederson, K. Walker, A. Laporte, J. Stones, R. Dias, J. Cancelo, I. Gundogan, Rodrigo, R. Sterling, B. Silva, G. Jesus