Five things Manchester City need to do to overcome Liverpool
Champions League quarter-final preview
Manchester City have it all to do if they’re to defy odds of 4/1 and qualify for the semi-finals of the Champions League on Tuesday night.
The Citizens were thumped 3-0 by Liverpool at Anfield last week. They failed to cope with the Reds’ pressing game and now require a minor miracle if they’re to make it through to the last-four.
Luckily for Pep Guardiola and co, the Coral News Team have come up with a five-point plan to help them overcome Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium…
Disrupt Liverpool’s press
Liverpool target their press during specific periods of the game. When the Reds do that, they completely disrupt Man City’s rhythm.
In the January meeting between the two clubs, Jurgen Klopp’s men scored three goals in a devastating nine-minute spell. Last week they did the damage in a 19-minute flurry midway through the first-half.
City need to find a way to repel the Liverpool tide. At home, they’re the masters of possession football. They showed that in their 5-0 victory over the Merseysiders earlier in the season.
A repeat performance is required if the hosts are to stand any chance of making it through to the semi-finals. If they fall to the press again, it could be curtains.
Don’t target the same area
Trent Alexander-Arnold produced a coming of age performance at Anfield last week. The Sky Blues targeted the full-back and he stood strong, consistently getting the better of Leroy Sane.
Evidently, that approach didn’t work. And that tells us that City need to mix up their play and find different avenues of attack. It’s fairly obvious that the Citizens won’t target Alexander-Arnold as much at the Etihad.
But all the same, City cannot wholly rely on the pace and trickery of Sane to be their key to unlocking the Reds’ back-line.
Keep a clean sheet
Everyone knows about City’s prowess going forward. But it’s equally important that they keep it tight at the back in the second-leg.
If Liverpool score just a single goal at the Etihad, Guardiola’s men will need five to go through. If the Reds score two, City need six.
Klopp’s men are masters of the counter-attack. So it’ll be vital that the hosts don’t load all of their eggs into one basket. They need to remain measured in their approach and careful not to expose themselves too much. A Reds goal early on would effectively end the tie.
Be more clinical
Saturday’s Manchester derby defeat brought back memories of last season for City.
Despite going 2-0 up in the contest, the Citizens were extremely wasteful in front of goal. Raheem Sterling, in particular, squandered a hatful of chances to put the game to bed before the break.
They were punished for not killing the match off against United. Missed chances against Klopp’s men will likely see them exit the competition.
Stick with what works
Guardiola almost tried to be too clever at Anfield six days ago. Playing Aymeric Laporte at left-back and Ilkay Gundogan instead of Sterling smacked of arrogance.
They paid the price for the manager’s decisions and must now get back to basics in terms of team selection on Tuesday. Fabian Delph should return, while Sergio Aguero is expected to come back from injury to form a three-pronged attack alongside Sane and Sterling.
City have the tools to do the damage. And with pegs no longer in round holes, they should be better for it as a team.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing