Here is our exclusive Manchester City vs Liverpool Tactical Review. Manchester City hosted Liverpool at Etihad on an early-season Premier League battle. Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp both looked to gain the upper hand in the league. Liverpool was coming on the back of 5 back-to-back wins, on the contrary City were looking to come out of a shaky start of the season. The match ended in a 1-1 stalemate. Both the teams were happy with a point each. We will now analyze the various tactical aspects of the game.
Liverpool’s Quick Start
Liverpool started the game with a bang. Quite literally, they were looking sharp and moving the ball very quickly in the first 10 minutes in the game. Liverpool started the game 4-2-3-1, Henderson and Wijnaldum’s double pivot pressed very hard throughout the first 10 minutes.
Liverpool tried to play the ball fast and try to play over the top of City’s high backline as Salah and Jota were making runs from behind. Liverpool made early inroads into City’s defence. Salah and Jota got early chances and Liverpool looked promising.
Cautious Approach From Both sides
Both Liverpool and Manchester City, never went all guns blazing despite playing a very exciting End to End game. Both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp looked cautious about the team’s defense. Gomez and Matip played out of the back, Henderson often dropped back to give them support.
Gini and Henderson were the presser-in-charge in the midfield areas, Despite playing a high line defence, Klopp’s double pivot in midfield were the links between defence and offence. They were constantly tracking back and gave cover to the fullbacks who alternatively went on the overlap. Robertson and Trent looked a lot more defensive than they naturally are.
The same goes for City, Dias and Laporte both looked to be in fine form. Rodri was the player who provided them with support. Walker and Cancelo often made forward runs but at the same time, Gundogan and Rodri were covering the spaces they left. Both teams were trying to move in numbers in counters while protecting their defence with a numerical advantage.
Liverpool’s Dominance from the Left
Liverpool’s offensive was based a lot on their attacking prowess on the left flank. From the beginning of the game, we have seen the Liverpool defenders playing long balls targeting Mane on the left flank who was proving to be quite a challenge for experienced Walker.
Whenever Mane made those runs he was provided with the support by flanking Robertson who was just there for him. Wijnaldum often shifted towards the left to provide another passing option. Mane looked to cut inside and create danger, the penalty came from a similar situation when Walker illegally challenged Sadio who was cutting inside.
Salah didn’t miss and Liverpool went 1-0 up in the first half. In the second half, Liverpool looked quite a bit defensive but still tried to attack City’s defence through the left.
A Bad Day in Front of Goal
Liverpool and Man City both will be licking on their wounds as they both made costly errors in finishing the chances they got. Liverpool’s Salah and Firmino squandered quite a few chances in the first half’s early stages. Sterling missed a 1 vs 1 against Alisson as he shot the ball straight towards the Brazilian number 1.
Jesus despite scoring a brilliant goal missed the best chance of the second half as he couldn’t finish a free header from inside of the box as the empty goal was gaping. Mane missed a chance as he took time and his chance was blocked.
But Kevin De Bruyne’s penalty will be the hot topic of the game as the Belgian attacking midfielder put the shot away from the penalty spot as Alisson dived to the wrong side. Pep was also in shock. This can pretty much turn out to haunt the Cityzens after the end of the match.
One of the biggest challenges for Jurgen Klopp was to accommodate a high flying Jota alongside an out-of-form Firmino in the starting 11. Klopp played the Brazilian as the Enganche but as the game progressed it seemed that he was playing as the false 9, a position he is accustomed to playing with.
Jota after a clinical performance vs Atalanta was forced to move to the right. It may give rise to a lot of questions, post-game. In a long right, it might come to a situation where Klopp has to accommodate any single one of them as Jota looked quite out of sorts when playing in the right flank. This is needed to be seen, whom Klopp picks ahead of a tedious December that is lying ahead.
As the much-highlighted fixture ended in a 1-1 stalemate, fans can agree the quality of football was top notch for both sides. None of them seemed much worried and was satisfied with the solitary point. Klopp will now look to consolidate his lead over City as a December saga awaits, Pep has some catching up to do. In simple words it’s just the beginning, the second edition of this fixture on the return leg can produce surprising results.
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