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Football News: Manchester City vs Liverpool: Review From A Red

Manchester City vs Liverpool: Review From A Red
Image from: freelargeimages.com

One of the biggest games of the season, a potential title decider, so predictably it ended as a draw. I'm not a fan of the result I think Liverpool have a tougher run of games and are the more likely of the two to drop further points. This was a must win but we couldn't quite grind it out. And grind is the word because recently we haven't looked particularly fluent, this game was a slog and, even at my most optimistic, couldn't of complained had Manchester City won it.


Manchester City:

High pressing? Check. Lots of possession? Check. I feel like their set up exploited sone weaker areas of our game and reduced the effectiveness of our strengths. Walker, and in particular Cancelo, constantly marauded forward and it gave them what proved to be an effective out ball, as well as pinning back TAA and Robertson. In particular the timing of the runs they made were constantly very good and it opened us up again and again. Their press was also more aggressive, and involved more players, and it put us under extreme pressure - especially first half when we appeared adamant to play out from the back no matter how many times it failed. They were good in possession, attacking well, and had a number of big chances. Alisson made some good saves, Sterling was offside by the width of a Rizla, VVD cleared off the line, they hit the woodwork, I mean they definitely had more chances and clearly opportunities to score more. They are a very good team and they showed it. They looked sharper too, mentally in particular, and seemed to handle things better. Honestly given how good they were a draw for us wasn't bad, it certainly could've been much worse.



Well the first half was so poor that it really could only get better. Only being a goal down was pure dumb luck and, on another day, we'd of been out of it. I understand that we wanted to play out from the back, keep possession, but City just don't allow teams that opportunity, and unless your passing is razor sharp, it ain't going to work. Our passing was far from razor sharp and it did not work. Trying two or three times and losing possession is forgivable, you go long to relieve the pressure and fight for second balls. We kept trying, and kept losing possession, for the entire 1st half. It wasn't all doom and gloom though, we scored a fine equaliser and had a decent chance near the end and, most importantly, were still in the game. We had the perfect start to the second half but, as happened first half, we stopped playing as confidently, and as directly, and didn't create much following the goal. City were on the ropes, but we let them catch their breath, and once they did they controlled it until the end. In normal circumstances you take results like this, this was a situation we needed to win, and truth be told we never looked like we were really brave enough to do so. Robbo and Trent did get forward more second half but quality deliveries were lacking. Our press was weirdly half-hearted with Henderson making breaks from midfield to hassle their defenders, something he did nonstop, and though not a great press did yieid decent results. A more aggressive press might've induced more mistakes and provided us a with more goal scoring threat, but we never looked confident enough to do so.


Player ratings:

Alisson - not at fault for either goal though he might've done a little better with Jesus' strike as it was very close to his 6-yard box. Was guilty of giving up possession first half but also made some very good saves. Mixed bag for him.

VVD - tough game for him he was reasonable and made a number of key interceptions, dominated their attackers, and looked the most calm out of the backline. Would like him to be more vocal though as those around him were in need of serious advice (like "stop playing dreadful passes") .

Matip - almost enraged me enough to turn the game off. He wasn't the only one guilty of this but when a player has his back to the pitch, and you can see everything, you shouldn't be playing passes to him when you can see opposition breathing down his neck. Matip did it multiple times: lazy, brainless play. Looked slow as well and well worth opposition targeting his side and you can see why they do. He has lots of good traits but his weaknesses are the exact sorts of weaknesses a team with the style of City can dominate. Not his best game.

Robertson - OK, contributed to the first goal, but one of many guilty of sloppy play and loss of possession. Felt like he was told not to get forward too much, and it limited our attacking play.

TAA - his first half was one of his worst. Lost the ball so many times, defensively he wasn't great, positionally he looked lost, he played Jesus on, just a mare. Second half was much better, seemed to have more focus and all aspects of his game got better as a result.

Fabinho - perhaps the worst performance I've ever seen from him. Struggled with even the most basic of passes, didn't break up play effectively, seemed incredibly slow, just did nothing right at all, really poor I think he should've been hooked instead of Henderson.

Thiago - the best of the midfield 3 seemed to break up play better, pressed reasonably well, passed better than everyone else, though was lucky not to have gotten a second yellow. Decent, but not great. has more gears.

Henderson - never stopped working or pressing, he was at it from the get go until he got subbed. Passing wise OK, like many a bit loose, a bit nervy, but he improved second half. Was surprised he was subbed given how poor Fabinho was.

Salah - his assist was very good, and was in fact his highlight of the game, because he did nothing much else. Looked ineffective and out of form, it's a worry that he is struggling for form, this is the key part of the season coming up, needs to be producing better.

Mane - A really poor first half he struggled to get involved in our attacking play, he lost possession multiple times, he lost his footing multiple times, I was one of many calling for him to be substituted. Then he bangs in a great finish within a minute of the restart. His overall play was better second half he was more involved, linked up play more, just overall more effective. Game of two halves for him and the team as a whole.

Jota - though his passing was still inconsistent, which lead to possession loss, his work rate and pressing was much improved. He also linked up well and had basically all of our best chances except for Mane's goal and a deflected Salah shot inexplicably ruled a goal kick. Took his goal well, will probably be disappointed not to have done better with the other chances he had.



Diaz - I was clamouring for him to come on but, when he did, struggled to get on the ball. We resorted to long balls trying to hit them quickly but it didn't really come off and, as a result, Diaz didn't have much impact.

Keita - Came on and did relatively little but, in fairness, we were not doing much as a team. Hard to judge given he only got about 15 minutes at the end.

Firmino - barely got a touch, a late substitution that had no impact.


Jurgen Klopp:

City are extremely difficult to play against, they are one of the best sides in the world, but you have to understand the opposition and play to the percentages. Passing out from the back piled pressure on ourselves and caused errors, blips, etc far too much, it should not have been persisted with. City were hitting the wide areas well with fullbacks overlapping and our high line was exposed again and again. If players/ teams can time their runs they can beat the line and put us in trouble and, in Matip's case, lack the recovery pace to get back. We never really committed to such a high line that we reduced City's time and space, but never really dropped deep enough to cover runs behind, so we were left in a strange no man's land and City capitalized on it. I don't think it was the correct set up, though the team selection was probably right. Certain players never looked comfortable though, we've come to expect much better from the likes of Fabinho and TAA, for example, and they just didn't deliver. The biggest criticism we could perhaps aim at Klopp is that we only played well once going behind and that, as soon as we were level, resorted to nervy, conservative play. If they were braver we could've tried to win, as it was we were lucky to draw. If we set up and play like this in the FA Cup I can't see us winning it.



A draw just isn't enough, there's still games to go but City have easier fixtures and know how to win. We're also not playing at our peak levels and a number of players look noticeably out of form, Salah the most obvious one, and to win anything will require an improvement in this regard. The title race remains out of our hands, and it's hard to see City dropping further points, so perhaps increased focus on Champions League and FA Cup is the best way to maximize our success this season. It's not like the Premier League of old were points tallies in the 80's were enough, the standards set are so high that not that even 94 points may be enough. Somewhat deflating as a whole, glad to get out of the match with a draw given how it panned out, but ultimately felt like it was a must win, and we didn't really go for it as if it was. Nothing is set in stone yet, Champions League and FA Cup next, we need to produce some big performances, and hope that by some miracle City drop points.

Written by Seano_ April 11 2022 10:04:13


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