Liverpool faces one of their trickiest fixtures yet. Manchester City travels to Anfield and never has Jurgen Klopp and every Liverpool player needed Anfield to play twelfth man as much as they do on Sunday evening. Liverpool comes into this game winless in their last five Premier League meetings against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
Manchester City has opened the scoring in more games in all competitions than any other side this season, 10. While on the other hand, Liverpool has conceded the first goal more often than any other Premier League side in all competitions this season. The tactical setup, and its perfect execution, to ensure this record does not get worse for the Reds is essential.
Given the availability of players and the way we’ve seen Klopp set the team up over the last few weeks, there is a high chance that Liverpool starts with 4-2-3-1. Liverpool will have limited options off the bench on matchday, given the number of injuries. This will mean that the starting XI will have to play most of the game and ensure an immediate impact to help reduce pressure. It is no secret that Liverpool is in the middle of a deep dark tunnel secret and the ray of hope seems distant. If recent form is anything to go by, Manchester City comes into this game fighting to go top of the table, while Liverpool is fighting to stay in contention for a top-four finish.
The benefit of playing a 4-2-3-1 is that it gives Liverpool a chance to build play from the back and keep possession of the ball for sustained periods. It is crucial in this game to ensure that Kevin de Bruyne and Erling Haaland can’t spin their magic. However, this tactical setup needs constant communication and a high work rate. Work rate has been an issue, given that most Liverpool players seem exhausted. But if there is a game in which a reaction is needed, it is this one.
With Thiago Alcantara in midfield and Roberto Firmino dropping deep, Liverpool has to ensure they dominate the central areas and suffocate Manchester City’s midfielders. Fabinho must step up and ensure he gets tight to the opposition players. This will allow full-backs to provide width in trying and find Darwin Nunez, who has shown exceptional positional play inside the box.
This is how Liverpool could set up and the expected starting lineup.
This game promises to be a humdinger right from the first whistle. It is going to be a tactical masterpiece, and when Liverpool’s backs are to the wall, they have, more often than not, under Jurgen Klopp, found a way out. Will this time be any different? Tune in on Sunday evening to find out.