Yes, WE ARE LIVERPOOL and WE ARE CHAMPIONS OF ENGLAND after 30 years. Now, I know I didn’t publish an article on our Premier League triumph but I couldn’t, I mean emotions and feelings were too much to be put into paper or this soft copy, so I preferred to process it. Then, I saw tons of articles here & there and I thought let’s not jump in the bandwagon and write a piece with no feelings and that’s why I have it on hold until the right time because winning the league is about connected feelings of us all Liverpool supporters and we want to feel it together while revisiting it.
So, maybe I’ll present it to you at the end of the season so that we can enjoy it together!
That being said, focusing on tonight we go to Etihad Stadium and face a tough determined Manchester City, they lost unexpectedly to Chelsea in their last game which handed Liverpool the premier league title as early as 7 games still to play (a record), the league was already done long ago with such points gap of 23-26 points (another record) but it was still mathematically not over and City would have wanted to delay it till tonight where it could have been decided and Liverpool would have had to win rather against them than through their loss to Chelsea.
Anyway, now it’s about proving mettle- City are definitely hurting because of the way they were made to bow out, back to back premier league champions (one being record points total) and then falling off to Liverpool by a gap such as this big of 23 points, the way they play and score goals, it really just shows that Liverpool have been on another level of consistency and quality, an extra mile ahead of them. UNREAL!
They would want to prove that they are still in it for good, come next season and they are still rolling on like they always do but have had some glitches, along the way.
This rivalry of Liverpool vs Manchester City has been one of the greatest in recent history- 2 best teams in the Premier League and 2 of the best in the world with absolutely world-class managers who have shaped the premier league in their own way. Their styles are their own and they play it like no one else is even competing against them. The matches between the two have been nothing but always astonishing, keeping you on your toes, goals galore, fast and intense. The game doesn’t give you a breather and that’s how it is, that is how they play.
Only these 2 are the Achilles heel of each other and we have seen that time and time again.
Liverpool, having been crowned as the premier league champions, have to prove why they have achieved that so early and go on to take another step of further moving on, taking a leap to more greatness as they look to smash more records; one being reaching 107 points barrier.
They’re already 56 games unbeaten at home in the league and it is still going on.
A little look at Tactics…
Manchester City tonight will be without Fernandinho and Aguero is out with an injury. This isn’t the game where you’d want not to have 2 of your best players. Fernandinho has been City’s most trusted, reliable, and dependable man for seasons and this season he was everywhere when needed by Pep. Manchester City’s defense has been the cause of their fall, Laporte was injured for a long time and they weren’t able to cope, Otamendi & Stone are too prone to errors and Fernandinho had to slot in as a CB.
When it comes to going forward they score for fun but when defending you always feel they will concede and they actually do more often than not. Manchester City will come out playing their usual game of total football, the tiki-taka and they are the only ones who play it with such beauty and flare, a 6-second pressing rule, inverted full-backs, with field stretched wide and a system that needs a proper no.9, Gabriel Jesus will likely start, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t because every time Pep has tried false 9, they got beat because they suffer playing with a false 9, unlike Liverpool. Pep tried it against Liverpool in the reverse fixture, lost 3-1- he tried it against Chelsea, recently and lost 2-1. So, all in all, his system doesn’t work fine with a false 9.
When it comes to Liverpool, Klopp prefers to play a very narrow 4-3-3 where the width is given by his fullbacks, Klopp & Pep’s team play a very high-line to cage the opposition in their own half.
Klopp’s team gets the upper hand over Pep’s because of the high intensity and work ethic- Pep’s team prefers to frustrate teams by keeping the ball whereas Klopp’s team prefers to press tirelessly and retrieve the ball without letting teams settle down. They prefer a quick, direct football with continuous attacks- blitz and saturation attacks. They are more built for counter-attack and counter-pressing and have adapted to possession-based football with an avg. possession of 61%.
The success behind trumping over Pep’s City has been Klopp’s adaptability of changing his tactics and tweaks from having contingencies plan, where he could use a false 9 or a proper no.9, a formation designed to sit deep, stabilize and counter such as a 4-5-1 or 4-2-3-1 or their normal 4-3-3 with false 9.
Klopp has changed his gegenpressing approach to being more subtle, that is gegenpressing in certain moments of the game and then taking a little moment of gaps, primarily mostly we see Liverpool doing it in the opening first 20 minutes of the game to gain the upper hand and then settling down on the ball as the game progresses, they have upped their possession game as stated above and they prefer to go direct too, long balls into the front 3 from either the back or flanks. The changing of creativity in the team from conventional means such as midfielders to fullbacks completely and the front 3 is already known for their prowess. Liverpool’s fullbacks have been directly involved in 57 goals & assists since last season. Massive!
Now if you try to look at Manchester City, you don’t get much versatility as compared to Liverpool including the fact that Klopp’s team thrives on even when they miss out on key players because they are absolutely drilled in their systems.
Does that mean City isn’t good? NO!
City is a fantastic team, one of the greatest in Premier League history but they have just be ousted this season by the versatility and brilliance of Klopp where he adapted and tweaked more off the field and on the field compared to Pep.
Tonight’s game is going to be once again a cracking game, there’s a reason why it is loved and followed by everyone because 2 GREAT TEAMS IN ENGLISH FOOTBALL’S HISTORY BATTLE IT OUT without backing down, imposing themselves, and I think Liverpool will win this one, primarily because they’d be more up for it with such a boost in morale and energy!