Three things Liverpool must do to beat Manchester City

Jurgen Klopp has had mixed fortunes in his short tenure as Liverpool manager so far but with the club still sitting in mid-table, he needs to start finding his feet.

A couple of initial draws were followed by a fantastic away win at Chelsea, before Crystal Palace took all three points from Anfield, for the second successive season.

Up next for Klopp’s charges could hardly be a tougher test, a trip to the City of Manchester Stadium where hosts City sit top of the table, despite an autumn endured without some of their best players.

Here are three things Liverpool must do to have a chance of replicating their heroics at Stamford Bridge last month…

Get their pressing right

Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool - Barclays Premier League

Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund were famed for their high-speed pressing game and the German has pledged to bring the same philosophy to the Premier League.

It has been evident already and drew praise from pundits after the Chelsea match and the draw at White Hart Lane in Klopp’s first game in charge.

The former Dortmund man though, must be prepared to adapt his ideology for the big occasion and show his opponent, so formidable on their own ground, plenty of respect.

City will be used to teams arriving on their turf instructed to sit in and keep their shape. All but a few, are gradually picked apart.

The intense closing down that Klopp demands from his players will be effective in disrupting the hosts who will expect to dominate proceedings, but his side must incorporate discipline into their strategy.

City have no one in their lineup who is likely to be flustered by a bit less time on the ball and if Liverpool push up too far, they risk leaving themselves exposed.

They must press as a team and maintain their shape. In addition the coach’s preferred approach will be unlikely to last 90 minutes.

They must conserve energy where possible to avoid being out on their feet come the last 20 minutes. There will be portions of the match where they will simply have to sit back in formation in order to recover.

Keep De Bruyne quiet

Manchester City v Sevilla - UEFA Champions League Group Stage - Group D

In the absence of David Silva, De Bruyne has taken on the role of chief string-puller within City’s glittering attack.

The £55million man has steadily and almost quietly settled into life back in the Premier League and has become his side’s most dangerous threat of late with almost effortless style.

Liverpool are fortunate that City have Silva missing but their hosts have not been blunted without him. It does mean though that Klopp can at least predict his opponents starting lineup with relative ease.

De Bruyne will start as one of three attacking midfielders alongside former Liverpool favourite Raheem Sterling and winger Jesus Navas.

Navas will be glued to the right flank meaning De Bruyne will occupy either the centre or the left with license to interchange with Sterling.

This flexibility given to him is part of what makes the Belgian so dangerous, as he is allowed to drift around the final third searching for space, into which he delivers laser guided through balls, or surges with mesmerising ball control.

While Sterling, Navas and co will also demand attention, it is imperative Liverpool get a grip on the 24 year old if they are to succeed on Saturday evening.

One potential option for Klopp would be detailing the industrious James Milner to track the movement of their opponent’s main threat.

Score first

Liverpool v Crystal Palace - Barclays Premier League

While it seems obvious to suggest that bagging the first goal will improve Liverpool’s chances, the importance of doing so on Saturday cannot be understated.

This is simply due to the makeup of the two sides. One thing which Liverpool do have amongst their ranks is players suited to counter attacking football.

The direct penetration of the likes of Benteke and Coutinho to the sheer pace of Jordan Ibe mean that they are well equipped to exploit any space that an increasingly offensive City would leave behind their advancing midfield.

If Klopp’s high intensity pressing does bear fruit early on, this would allow the Reds to gradually retreat into their shell with City encroaching ever further as the game wore on.

Alternatively should the hosts net the first goal it could be a long afternoon for Liverpool as they would be required to expand mountains of energy chasing down Manuel Pellegrini’s men who would simply retain possession and pick them off when the gaps appear.

 


Switch to Snack Football to browse all blogs, videos and new featured content
snack football unit grey closesnack football unit green-tick