Manchester City will play hosts to Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday evening hoping to return to winning ways in the Premier League. The Citizens will come into this contest on the back of a 2-0 win over Newcastle United last weekend. In contrast, the Reds will head into this clash after being crowned as the new champions of England following a 4-0 victory at Anfield versus Crystal Palace.
Both teams are expected to go all out in search of the three points which makes this upcoming league encounter an exciting one in midweek. Pep Guardiola will set his side up in a 4-2-3-1 formation but could be inclined to make at least a couple of changes for this highly anticipated league match versus the Merseyside giants.
Here are three tactical decisions Pep Guardiola should make to ensure that his side claims all three points against Jurgen Klopp’s men tomorrow.
Play Kevin De Bruyne As An Advanced Midfielder
Guardiola should consider playing Kevin De Bruyne in the number ten position so that he has enough freedom to get involved in the final third. The Belgian playmaker has been in red-hot form for Man City since the return of Premier League football last month. Therefore, we can expect him to cause some problems for the Liverpool defenders at the Etihad on Thursday as long as he gets the license to get forward without having to put in a shift defensively inside his half.
Start Oleksandr Zinchenko Instead Of Benjamin Mendy At Left-Back
Benjamin Mendy has made some high-profile errors for the Citizens in recent matches, so Guardiola would be wise to start Oleksandr Zinchenko at left-back. The Ukrainian full-back is better-equipped to deal with the pace of Mohamed Salah and the threat of Trent Alexander-Arnold out of the wide areas. However, Raheem Sterling would need to help him out defensively if the home side are to keep the new Premier League champions at bay in midweek.
Go With Pace Up Top
In the absence of Sergio Aguero, Guardiola will have a real dilemma in his hands over whether to start Gabriel Jesus up top or play Sterling as a false nine forward. We believe that the pace of Jesus along with Sterling and Riyad Mahrez could cause significant problems for the Liverpool defenders, especially with De Bruyne orchestrating plays just behind them in the opposition half.
Both Bernardo Silva and Phil Foden could also raise the tempo of the game if Guardiola calls upon their services off the bench on Thursday. With both Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson expected to push high up the field, Man City should have enough space to exploit the Reds defenders on the break.