Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Liverpool Vs Manchester United: 3 Areas Where The Game Could Be Decided

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Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan used to be the Featured Columnist at The 4th Official. Completely immersed in football and almost all other sports on planet.

Klopp might continuously stress on the team effort as a whole, which he believes would do the trick for Liverpool on Monday when they welcome deadly rivals Manchester United, but if thrown under the lens, it’s the individual battles at crucial areas of the pitch, which would have to  do the trick.

The most interesting battle, however, will be on the sidelines between the tactical prowess of Jürgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho. While Klopp’s side has been ripping apart the opponent’s defence with numerous attacks, Mourinho’s armour has mostly been defending calmly and assuredly, and attacking only on the break.

The fact that Klopp has seen more success than his Portuguese opponent this season is because Mourinho’s tactics do not include the quality defence that he had at Chelsea, who would carry out his strategy effectively.

Liverpool’s spearheading trio against Man United’s defence

With Mane and Firmino by his side, Coutinho has rejuvenated into a deadly striker up front, whose long shots have often found the back of the net in the Premier League seasons far. Though Klopp has refused to accept Firmino’s role as a false number 9, it is crystal clear that Firmino has been impeccable in that position this season.       

As far as Sadio Mane’s ability is concerned, the player touted as one of the best buys of the summer. He has been magnificently linking up with Firmino and his burst of pace can change games.

United’s back four of Smalling, Shaw, Bailly and Valencia will undoubtedly be having a difficult time reading the attack. Mourinho would have to bank heavily on Valencia’s experience in Anfield on Monday.

United’s midfield

The one place, where Mourinho would really focus on is midfield, as it is where the Red devils could actually inflict some pain on the hosts at Anfield. With options like Pogba, Mata, Fellaini and Herrera at the centre, orchestrating the game would be far easier than Liverpool could, with the likes of Henderson, Lallana, and Wijnaldum, with the latter two doubtful for the game.

Now, Klopp has already warned about the height prowess Mourinho has at his disposal with the likes of Pogba, Fellaini, and Ibrahimović, which could be really nightmarish for the Liverpool defence, whose centre-back duo of Matip and Lovren seems incapable of winning the aerial duels consistently. Hence, the first objective of Klopp would be to push the defence towards the flanks as much possible and eliminate the crosses thereafter.

The wing

This brings us to the next and final positional battle on Anfield. The flanks would be absolutely crucial in Monday’s game. With both the teams having defensive generals in the figure of Valencia and Milner, who are hugely experienced owing to their Premier League appearances, a lot of drift will be seen there. Plus, as Klopp’s’ ‘gegenpressing’ works in pushing the attacks to the fringes of the field making scoring chances minimal.          

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