Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Three Things Liverpool Must Address To Stay In The Title Race Following The Manchester City Draw

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

Premier League never fails to amaze with its Box Office fixtures, and the Sunday evening clash between Liverpool and Manchester City turned out to be one of the finest this modern-time rivalry has ever produced. It ended all square at Anfield; however, both the teams could have grabbed all three points given the ups and downs all throughout the 90 minutes.

Let’s be honest; the Reds were lucky not to be down to ten men when James Milner escaped a second yellow despite bringing Bernardo Silva down midway through the second half. The majestic Mo Salah goal was cancelled out by Kevin De Bruyne’s deflected strike late in the match. Also, a spectacular block from Rodri denied Fabinho from putting the ball into the empty net minutes before the final whistle.

Despite chasing shadows during the first half, Liverpool came back in spectacular fashion after the break. They had the lead twice in such an electrifying contest, but the gaffer Jurgen Klopp might feel dejected after dropping two massive points yet again following last week’s Brentford game.

Although the Reds are the only unbeaten Premier League side of this campaign, we observed a few things that might haunt them in the title race going forward.

‘Mo Salah’ FC?

Previously, it used to be the lethal front trio of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, who used to run riot in opponents’ defence. Things though have changed drastically in recent months as the likes of Mane and Firmino are nowhere close to their earlier selves in terms of creativity and vision. Diogo Jota had shown decent finishing traits since his arrival last summer, but the goal scored by the Egyptian depicts his mastery and supremacy in world football.

“That’s PlayStation football. That’s ridiculous. You cannot do that without a joystick.” 

The commentary of Peter Drury sums it up as it’s been a ‘one-man show’ for Liverpool thanks to the winger’s 9 goals and 3 assists in 9 appearances across competitions.

Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah scores a spectacular goal against Manchester City
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 03: Mohamed Salah of Liverpool scores to make it 2-1 during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester City at Anfield on October 03, 2021 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images) The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) and Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/)

A ‘Gini’ On The Pitch Would Have Done Wonder

The Reds are well equipped in the middle of the park, but the physicality and composure of Georginio Wijnaldum would have calmed things down while defending the lead during the final quarter. The Dutchman was allowed to part ways on a Bosman, whereas injuries to Thiago Alcantara and Harvey Elliott forced the manager to rely on Curtis Jones in such a high-voltage encounter.

The youngster was completely outdone by the visitors, and the mediocrity of Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left Klopp with no other option but to rely on Jones for ninety minutes. The lack of pace of Fabinho did not help them either against a quick, workaholic City midfield.

Conceding For Fun

After a few clean sheets in early weeks, the Reds have lost their resilience at the back. They conceded twice against AC Milan and three goals versus Brentford prior to this eventful 2-2 draw. James Milner, featured as the understudy to injured Trent Alexander-Arnold, should have been replaced by Joe Gomez at the break following a dreadful first half against Phil Foden.

Virgil van Dijk is yet to hit his peak since returning from the long injury layoff. Also, the frailty in the defensive third is keeping Alisson Becker on his toes between the sticks. It’s high time they start grinding out results and defend narrow margins similar to previous years.

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