Premier League 2018-19, Manchester City vs Liverpool: 3 tactical factors which could determine the fate of the match
Manchester City face Liverpool in an epic clash this week which might go a long way in deciding the ultimate winner of the Premier League this season.
Liverpool have 54 points from 20 matches while City have 47 from the same number of matches. Should Liverpool win on Friday, they could well have ensured their first title win since 1990. However, if City go on to beat Liverpool, they would be firmly back in the title race.
Both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola would have their fingers crossed before such an important match-up. Guardiola, however, would be more desperate for a win as his team is trailing the group leaders by 7 points.
Here, we take a look at three tactical factors which might determine the fate of the match:
1. Liverpool’s front 3 would fancy their chances against the two City centre-backs
Guardiola had played Kyle Walker as a third centre-back the last time these two sides met, at Anfield, in order to counter the press of the Liverpool front 3. But he is unlikely to do so this week as City would be more eager for a win this time around.
Therefore, Liverpool’s front 3 of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino would fancy their chances against City’s centre-backs Aymeric Laporte and Vincent Kompany.
Salah has mostly played as a centre-forward of late and could trouble the City centre-backs considerably. He has scored 16 goals in 27 matches for Liverpool this season and would hope to increase his tally against City.
Firmino is also fresh from the hat-trick he scored against Arsenal last week. He would be a perennial threat inside the penalty box, while Mane would also look to dribble past the City defenders frequently. The quick passes played by Liverpool in the final third should also trouble the City defenders a lot.
However, should Guardiola decide to play 3 centre-backs and opt for a 3-5-2 formation, it would be a different ball-game altogether. That would mean City have an additional man in their defensive third, and could deal with the Liverpool forwards more comfortably.
It would also mean that the wing-backs would also be able to fall back to increase numbers in the defence if the need for the same arises.