Man City will look to wing it against Liverpool in the Premier League

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A top-of-the-table clash, emerging rivalry and an enviable array of attacking talent; Sunday’s meeting between Liverpool and Manchester City should be one to savour.

Here, we look at the tactics Sky Blues boss Pep Guardiola should consider at Anfield.

Check out Liverpool’s tactics here.

CREATE THE OVERLAP

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It’s a regular sight for all City watchers.

The ball is worked out wide, a winger or full-back rolls the ball across and either a striker or advancing midfielder strokes the low centre home. Simple, but so, so effective – just ask Hoffenheim and Brighton in the last week, alone.

Against Liverpool, this approach gains greater relevance. In alternating fashion, one of either Trent Alexander-Arnold or Andy Robertson will bomb on – leaving enticing space.

Robertson was burned off Napoli’s Jose Callejon to tee up Lorenzo Insigne in midweek to inflict Liverpool’s first loss of the season. The likes of Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker are infinitely capable of doing the same this Sunday.

SET-PIECE SUCCESS

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Guardiola teams are not thought of as set-piece specialists.

But a study of the 2017/18 corner statistics in the Premier League places them joint second with eight goals, just one behind leaders Bournemouth and Arsenal.

Liverpool’s weakness in this area has largely been cured by January’s addition of the statuesque Virgil van Dijk. But with fine margins likely to define the contest at Anfield plus a potential return after nearly two months out for dead-ball master Kevin De Bruyne, this could be a profitable avenue for the champions.

Centre-back Aymeric Laporte has looked a constant danger at attacking these deliveries, as his goal at Wolverhampton Wanderers shows.

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Lethal Liverpool counter-attack will make Man City crack once again

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A top-of-the-table clash, emerging rivalry and an enviable array of attacking talent; Sunday’s meeting between Liverpool and Manchester City should be one to savour.

Here, we look at the tactics Reds boss Jurgen Klopp should consider at Anfield.

Check out City’s tactics here.

MASTERS OF TRANSITION

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Expect an old friend to be brought back by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp this weekend.

The German has turned down his famous ‘gegenpress’ this term. Rather than using physical intensity to make opponents crack, a psychological superiority/inferiority complex has been at play.

Sheer weight of talent, however, will not unsettle City’s superstars.

Research by The Times this weekend showed that from Liverpool’s nine goals against the Blues last term, they held the ball a maximum 14 seconds.

The onus moves to making counter-attacks as swift as possible. When, for example, Jordan Henderson wins the ball in midfield, City’s attacking shape must be instantly exploited by forward Mohamed Salah and Co.

PRESSURE THE DEFENCE

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Liverpool are experts at turning pressure points to their advantage.

Guardiola didn’t lightly say in Amazon’s ‘All or Nothing’ documentary that “They scare me”, when referencing the Reds. Klopp’s 57-per-cent winning ratio against the iconic Spaniard is unprecedented and this comes from his ability to strike at the heart of an area of strength.

The Catalan’s sides dominate possession and build from the back. Their defenders hold the ball more than other teams, leading to more opportunities for your attackers to win it in advantageous positions.

Goalkeeper Ederson and centre-back Nicolas Otamendi both fell victim in last term’s Champions League quarter-finals to the hustling attacking trio of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

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Jurgen Klopp wants Liverpool and Man City to be the great entertainers

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Liverpool‘s clash with Manchester City on Sunday is the biggest match of the Premier League season so far – and Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is among those hoping to be entertained.

It is Liverpool’s second successive match against a probable title rival after last weekend’s draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, which lived up to its billing.
Klopp said: “I turned to (Chelsea boss) Maurizio Sarri and I was smiling and he looked at me like, ‘You enjoyed that’. Yes, actually I do. This was a very good game and the City games (have been) very good games.
“I really think the most important job of football is entertaining the people. Because it’s only football. We don’t save lives, we are only good at football. If we do not entertain the people, why do we play it?
“It’s not always possible and it’s always hard work but that’s really an important thing. That’s why we have to try and create as often as possible and Pep’s teams are best at that, and I can admit that easily because it’s so obvious.
“We are not bad in a few other things and that’s why we were not the most comfortable opponents for City but that means nothing for Sunday. We need to be at 100 per cent, if not 110 per cent, to deal with the quality of City.”
Liverpool were the only major thorn in City’s side as they swept all before them last season, ending the chances of Pep Guardiola’s side going unbeaten in the Premier League with a 4-3 victory at Anfield and then winning both legs of the Champions League quarter-final.
They finished 25 points behind City in the league but the signs are it will be a much closer battle this season, with each team having only dropped two points from a possible 21.
Klopp played down the implications of the match, saying: “I don’t think it makes too much sense at the moment to think about the title. There are a lot of games to play.”
One concern for Liverpool fans is the form of talisman Mohamed Salah, who has only scored three goals in the first 10 games of the season and looked well below his best.
But that concern does not extend to Klopp, who said: “Expectation changed, that’s normal. He set a completely new standard last year.
“But it’s so rare that it happens like that. It’s all good. What’s massively changed is only the kind of questions you ask.
“That’s the world out there. It’s how it is in my job; if I win games, I know everything about football, if I lose three in a row, people think I have no clue about football.

“Neither is true, the truth is always somewhere in between. I am completely relaxed. Mo has to work hard but that’s what he’s doing. It’s a completely normal situation, nothing to worry about.”

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