Mizgan Ahmed on 18th November, 2015
We are now into the dawn of the last international break of the year and Premier League action is back with some interesting fixtures, just due to the fact that this has been the most frantic season of football so far. The headline fixture though, is between the leaders Manchester City and Liverpool at the Etihad. City will be glad to see the return of David Silva in the training, while Liverpool will still be without the services of Sturridge and regular captain Henderson even though the striker is back in full training.
Pellegrini and Klopp will be ready for an intrigiuing clash.
We will focusing on the City-Liverpool clash and look at the possible lineups of both the teams and how Liverpool can counter City’s threat, which has increased two fold with the return of Silva.
Manchester City’s Possible Lineup :-
This is the possible lineup of Manchester City, we can see with Silva back they are looking a potent side which can tear apart any opposition. The backline can be a bit shaky with the absence of Kompany but in Demechelis and Otamendi, City still have one of the centre-back pairs of the League. Fullbacks Kolarov and Sagna/Zabaleta are very solid defensively, love to go on overlaps and whip delightful crosses, if given a chance, they run in behind opposition’s fullbacks making them very dangerous. The central midfield of Toure and Fernandinho is by far the most potent midfield pair, Toure played as a no 10 in absence of Silva and struggled a bit, but now with the Spaniard back, he will relish playing in a slightly deeper role and partnering the Brazilian Fernandinho, but, the trio of Silva, Sterling and De Bruyne is the one which will decide whether City are mesmerizing or pulverizing in their game, they are ones who can take the game away. We will first concentrate on Silva’s movements and how it can cause problems for Liverpool’s backline. We all know, Silva, always in motion, always hassling the opponents to win back possession and go slightly deeper to get the ball and drive forward, these transitions make him very difficult to specifically mark, his side ways movement are very decisive, it allows Toure to step up and while Silva takes defenders with him, Toure always seems to find a bit of space to shoot or make a good run. De Bruyne and Sterling are very lethal as we know, the key to their game is cutting inside and shooting ability, they do not always stay wide, they allow the fullbacks with an overlap and look to cut inside and offer more centrally whenever possible.
Liverpool’s Possible Lineup :-
This is the lineup which Liverpool should begin with, a 4-3-2-1 with Firmino in that number 9 role. The advantage of having Firmino in that role is just because of City’s shaky defense, constant dropping back and runs behind the backline will cause few problems. Players like Coutinho and Lallana loves to play with runners around them, which Benteke don’t really seem to offer as a center forward. Liverpool needs to have an active center forward to constantly attract defenders and allow spaces for other players, Firmino ticks that box. The Reds need to make sure that there is enough cover for Moreno and Clyne when they are moving forward and looking for overlaps, the two wide midfielders Can and Milner need to take that responsibility of tracking back and not allowing City’s wingers or fullbacks to run in behind. Lucas in the center of the midfield, has a big job in hand, he will be up against Silva and with Spaniard’s constant movement in and around the box and drifting wide when possible makes the Brazilian’s job very tough. He will be needing support from Can and Milner to mark Silva when he tries to drift a bit wide and the Brazilian instead needs to concentrate on the run that Toure will make at that moment. Coutinho and Lallana constantly need to shift their positions and look for Firmino’s runs as a marker for their own runs, they can’t afford to get marked and hassled off the ball. Center-back pair of Skrtel and Lovren will have to be at their best even though Aguero is injured and Bony doesn’t possess the threat of the magnitude which the Argentinian provides, Silva’s clever runs needs to be tracked and Bony has to be marked aerially, we all know his aerial ability. Lovren, filling in Sakho’s shoes will need to be more commanding in terms of ball possession, Croatian has that ability and needs to execute it to the highest level while Skrtel will drop a little deeper and be more commanding in the air marking the center-forward.
So in all fairness, we have a fascinating match on the cards. It will be interesting to see how a ‘Changed’ Liverpool fare against the ‘Might’ of Manchester City. We also have to remember that it is a clash of two master tacticians, Klopp and Pellegrini.