Liverpool face Manchester City in a huge game at the top of the Premier League this Sunday. The result certainly won’t determine who will win the title but it could lead to an important shift in momentum.
To ensure that the Reds come out on top this weekend, I have put together a list of four key factors that could decide whether Jurgen Klopp’s side will pick up the three points:
1) Make the Most Of Their Opportunities
Manchester City’s defence may look pretty solid if you simply look at the number of shots they have faced this season in the league. 71 is the lowest out of all 20 clubs but it is wise not to read too much into that number.
The Citizens have averaged 65.7% possession this season and that means they don’t give opponents chances to shoot. However, when they lose it, they are prone to giving away good opportunities.
In terms of xG per shot against, they actually have the highest in the division at 0.144. That means that if you do get a shot away on their goal, it’s usually from an angle and distance where you have a better chance to score.
For Sunday, that means Liverpool may not get many shots at City’s goal, but they must make the most of them when they do.
2) Test The Goalkeeper
Ederson has been ruled out for the game. The Brazilian has a save percentage of 77.5% this season, but his understudy Claudio Bravo is not close to that figure. With that being the case, the Reds should attempt to test the Chilean.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is in a great run of form at the moment, with four goals in his last four appearances. Having scored with a number of shots from outside of the box too, he would be the perfect player to test Bravo
3) Add More Creativity In The Middle Of The Park
City manager Guardiola will likely try to limit the influence that Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have on the game. Last season at Anfield, the Citizens kept both their fullbacks deep and occupied Alexander-Arnold, in particular, by focusing a lot of their attacks on Liverpool’s right-hand side.
This led to a lack of creativity in the final third as Alexander-Arnold was unable to play the role he usually does as a playmaker from wide. That means you need to find your creativity from somewhere else on the pitch.
Although Klopp is likely to pick his favoured midfield trio of Georginio Wijnadlum, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, it may improve Liverpool chances by picking Oxlade-Chamberlain or Naby Keita instead who can provide a different attacking outlet.
4) Maintain Possession
Keeping control of the game will be vital. It’s easier said than done against City, but Liverpool do play with a high line and Guardiola has tended to exploit the space in behind the Reds on the counter-attack.
With that being the case, retaining the ball and not making mistakes is paramount. By keeping them penned in, the home side can also apply pressure to a defence which, as we have already mentioned, is vulnerable.