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Football News: Liverpool v Manchester City - A Liverpool Perspective

Liverpool v Manchester City - A Liverpool Perspective
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Liverpool v Manchester City A Liverpool Perspective

 

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An awful first half, with both teams dreadful, followed by a much better second half with both looking much better going forward but hopeless defensively. As a spectacle it was better, but it was a very poor game in terms of the play overall. Both teams were guilty of far too many loose passes, of being tentative in the challenge and ball watching defensively. Personally I found it more frustrating than enjoyable due to all the poor play. It felt like the only really good pieces of play resulted in goals. The rest of the chances came about due to terrible defending, rather than anything clever to create them.

As for the complaints from City over Milner not getting sent off, the referee clearly indicated the foul given was made by Henderson prior to Milner dangling his leg out. He was pointing to Henderson while explaining to the City players, clearly telling them that he had tried to play advantage then called it back for the first offence, as he should do under the laws of the game.

I find it a bit rich for Pep, of all people, to have the cheek to complain about a tactical foul not resulting in a sending off when his teams have benefitted from just those kind of decisions throughout his managerial career. Fernandinho has been able to commit multiple similar offences during a game without a single card so many times, it is difficult to not just think it is about time karma came for Guardiola's team.

As for the spitting incident, if it is true then he has to receive a lifetime ban from Anfield. Sad that people get so wound up over a game.

 


Manchester City

 

I have seen so many things talking about how great City were, but that is nonsense, they were almost as poor as Liverpool in the first half. The 'great' Phil Foden was woeful, despite all the ravings about his performance, other than his goal, constantly smashing the ball into a space no teammate could possibly hope to get anywhere near. The odd thing was his reaction to each abysmal piece of play (well nearly as odd as how the pundits and commentators were gushing over how great he was after each dreadful ball in) was the way he would immediately turn to the coaches and plead his case to them. It was like watching a whiny little kid who knows he is in the wrong but has an overprotective parent waiting to jump in, so turns to them to tell the other kids off instead. Very bizarre.

De Bruyne was also, again apart from his goal, awful, which is a big surprise. He had an off day which is probably a large part of the reason City were unable to take advantage of how bad Liverpool were in the first half. They were guilty of giving the ball away constantly and gifting possession back, only to be then handed it back almost straight away. It really was a terrible first half from both teams.

One thing that was clear, City were targeting Liverpool's right, but that is for a number of reasons, not just the usual nonsense claim of targeting Alexander-Arnold and now Milner. For one, and this is the main reason, it removes van Dijk from the equation. When playing a ball over the top, if you can put it into an area away from him, it improves the forward's chances of beating the defence to it, as neither Matip nor Milner are anything like as quick as van Dijk.

Added to that, Matip is caught out almost every time by the ball over the top, he has always struggled to anticipate it and that was a weakness City exploited, putting the ball into an area that Matip should have been covering. They knew that putting the central player in Matip's area will distract him from the run in behind, leaving Foden (mainly) to run into space. If Foden had been half the player he is claimed to be, City would have had a comfortable lead at halftime.

 


Liverpool

 

Klopp - I think it was a big mistake not to change Milner at half-time to bring on Gomez's extra pace and avoid any argument over the later foul. Milner was being exposed by Matip, as much as anything City were doing, and Klopp does need to look at that. Matip was playing really well until Klopp rotated, but he has been awful since, at least defensively anyway, he is still excellent on the ball. However, it is a worry that Matip has not refound his form and it might be worth Klopp looking at the alternatives as Liverpool cannot keep giving up chances and expect to win.

 

Alisson - it is amazing, he puts a pinpoint ball right on to the toe of a forward and nothing is mentioned by the commentators, yet they rave about a ball hit into 50 yards of space by Ederson, which is a much easier pass. One slight error by him under pressure with no players showing to play it to and the commentators are going back over every mistake ever made in his career. Ederson twice shanks the ball into touch under slight pressure, despite having options available and nothing is said. Next they will be criticising Alisson for his lack of goals this season!

 

Milner - struggled badly and was not given anything like enough cover to protect him. He still managed to do a decent enough job for a third choice player.

 

Matip - he has not looked right since Klopp rotated him out for a match. Still excellent on the ball but his defending has been lacking the confidence he had been showing previously. I think it might be time for Klopp to test another option alongside van Dijk, unless he can refind his form quickly. He gets caught far too easily by long balls that he should be dealing with. It is costing LFC goals and needs to be sorted.

 

van Dijk - while he was not particularly culpable yesterday, I would have liked to see him doing more to keep Matip on his toes and ready to drop when the ball was lifted over them. His diagonal balls were not working either, which made it difficult for him to influence the game, as he rarely strides out from the back like Matip does. Perhaps he could have done so yesterday to change things?

 

Robertson - he is so hit and miss at the moment, one minute brilliant the next awful. His delivery has been terrible for a while now and Liverpool look a lot less dangerous without Tsimikas putting the ball in from setplays and wide areas. He is another whose place has to be under serious threat right now.

 

Jones - struggled to get any of the ball at all in the first half, in the second he just did not see enough of it to really affect the game. The midfield was very much bypassed quickly, as City looked to avoid getting caught in a press.

 

Fabinho - was a bit overrun at times and unable to stamp his mark on the game like usual. Barely got a chance to get the ball at his feet to affect the game that way. Really should have scored but took far too long to sort his feet out.

 

Henderson - looked a bit leggy and never managed to give Milner as much protection as you would expect from him. It was not one of his better days at all.

 

Mane - barely touched the ball apart from balls hammered at him that were almost impossible to do anything with. When he did get a good chance he finished it with aplomb. Overall he allowed himself to be pushed back too far and too early.

 

Salah - in the first half he was also pushed back too far and too early, but in the second he got the balance right and was sensational. His play in the build up to the Mane goal was world class, his play for his own goal was a step above even that. Is there a better player in the world right now? I think not.

 

Jota - dreadful again. He messes up the press, his passing is poor, his touch is heavy and his runs are not the best. But then he will have a moment where he does some excellent work and almost makes up for it all. He was a real weak link, though not for the want of trying, as he was working hard. Jota just lacks the intelligence, or understanding of the press, to channel his work for the most effect. It makes it impossible for the high press to work while he is not doing his part. The potential is there, but it is just not clicking for him yet, not while he plays from the centre anyway.

 

Firmino - replaced Jota in the 68th minute. He should have been on earlier in my opinion. The link up play and press is so much more effective with him involved. Not just about what he can do on the ball, but his movement meshes much better with Salah and Mane.

 

Gomez - came on for Milner in the 78th minute. There is absolutely no doubt he should have been on at half-time. His pace would have altered the game and the extra time would have given him a chance to get adjusted to the pace of the match.

 


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Written by Tris Burke October 05 2021 02:03:57

 

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