Manchester City vs Liverpool has become one of Premier League’s most exciting fixtures of the current time. Both teams are hailed for their attacking intent as well as a delightful display with passing and pressing. And they did not disappoint last evening either when one of Premier League’s most entertaining fixture finished all square following an end-to-end encounter at the Etihad.
Pep’s passing vs Klopp’s pressing was the biggest talking point of the game. Two most attacking managers of European football locked horns in a tactical battle and strategically outplayed each other in a number of occasions. A draw has to be the fair outcome considering the intensity and elegance of the outing, however, the result would not satisfy either of two fanbases as both Liverpool and Manchester City squandered simplest of opportunities to wrap the game up.
A Complete Tactical Analysis On How Klopp’s Liverpool Earned A Point Vs Manchester City
Manchester City impressed with their movement, passing and one-touch football. They used the width of the pitch through two dynamic young wingers – Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling as the latter kept on troubling James Milner from the right-hand flank.
But the Reds came back sharply after initial stumbles as they found out the weak-link of City midfield. Veteran Yaya Toure looked off-paced and fatigued with time and could not match up with Klopp’s ‘gegenpressing’. Klopp, known for drawing out the best of his players, utilised Emre Can’s physicality who has performed spectacularly in recent weeks in place of skipper Jordan Henderson. Can and Wijnaldum did well to hold the ball and controlled the game from midfield. They got their reward when Gael Clichy made a high-footed tackle from behind on Roberto Firmino inside the box and referee Micahel Oliver did not hesitate to point to the spot. James Milner wrong-footed Willy Caballero to earn his side a deserved lead.
However, Guardiola executed his plan B perfectly when he replaced Yaya Toure with right-back Bacary Sagna. Midfielder Fernandinho was shifted to a makeshift full-back role to contain the tricky Coutinho and he managed to keep his fellow countryman quiet before switching his position with Sagna as the manager decided to bring him back to his usual midfield role in order to create more opportunities for the attackers from the middle of the pitch. It worked splendidly as City managed to draw the level within minutes when Sergio Aguero found the back of the with his first-time strike from Kevin De Bruyne’s sublime low cross from the right-hand flank.
Both teams suffered defensive vulnerability throughout the campaign; however, last evening, they offered resilience and determination in most occasions. Nicolas Otamendi was beaten past by the pacy Sadio Mane in the first half, but the Argentine was solid otherwise and partnered well with John Stones who put up one of his finest performances amidst all criticism. Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan were not far behind as they did well to contain the likes of David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne who linked up well in attacking third. Silva, particularly, had an outstanding evening of football as he was all over the Reds’ defence with his skilful runs and passes.
The open nature of the game often created clear cut opportunities for both outfits. Adam Lallana wasted the chance of the match when he missed a sitter within the six yards box as he took his eyes off the ball before mishitting his shot. Willy Caballero did well to pull off few decent stops to keep City in the game. Raheem Sterling, on the other hand, failed to tap in from close range during the first half and Sergio Aguero skied a golden opportunity at the back post during second half stoppage time.
Unlike Guardiola, Klopp had limited resources in bench due to injury concerns and lack of squad depth due to his failure to add enough options in his squad during winter transfer window. He was forced to start with Philippe Coutinho who is badly out of form since returning from injury and failed to impress once more before being replaced by Divock Origi. Origi, too, had fitness concerns and failed to make any noteworthy contribution towards the end.
Nevertheless, both Man City and Liverpool showed glimpses of class and what they are capable of doing. They have to find consistency from next season, particularly Liverpool who despite being unbeaten against top six teams, suffered shocking defeats against Hull City, Swansea City, Bournemouth, Burnley and Leicester City that ruined their title hopes and jeopardised the chances of a top four finish. Both are in good contention to grab a Champions League spot and have to bring consistency to achieve this season’s goals.
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