This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
We are only in November, but there is already a chance that the Premier League title race is over, at least for Manchester City.
On Sunday, Liverpool hosted the Citizens at Anfield. The visitors went to the Reds’ home knowing that they needed to pick up some kind of result as they found themselves six points behind the leaders. However, Jurgen Klopp and co dispatched their rivals by winning 3-1.
As such, they find themselves nine points clear of Pep Guardiola’s team and eight points above Leicester City and Chelsea. The former Barcelona manager showed his frustration towards the refereeing team at certain points, but his frustration will have to quickly translate into something positive on the training ground to get his side back in the hunt.
City were without some important players, such as Ederson and Aymeric Laporte, but there was still plenty of quality for Guardiola to choose from. Yet from a Liverpool perspective, it was all too easy, and they only had to contend with three shots on target throughout the match.
The main difference between the two sides was in regards to the physicality. City were just out-powered by their opponents, and that was something that could have been picked up on before the match had even kicked off.
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At this level, the margins between victory and defeat are small, but certain areas can have telling impacts. City were not incredibly effective going forward, playing with just one lone striker.
Sergio Aguero may be a fantastic player, but he stands at just 5 ft 7 in and weighs 10 st 12 lbs. Even with his pit bull like approach in mind, he was always going to struggle against Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren, both of whom stand well over 6 ft and weigh more than 13 st.
Such was the European champions’ power advantage, they did not even need to play at their best to come away with all three points. City, meanwhile, were below par and were swatted away as such.
Even in today’s modern game, strength and height have a role to play, and Klopp used his side’s superiority in this area to his advantage.