Friday, 8 April 2011

A closer look at Liverpool ahead of their game against Manchester City

Here at The Football Front were going to try a new little feature. Every now and then were going to preview a team ahead of their match and talk about how they will formate, what strategy they will adopt and the team’s strength and weaknesses.

Today, were previewing Liverpool. Liverpool this Monday will be playing against Man City. Both sides are aspiring for the European places. Although Man City look more than certain to finally attain a Champions League spot. Whereas, Liverpool are battling to gain 5th spot, which results in the right to play in the Europa League.

Liverpool’s last game saw them lose 2-1 to West Brom. Arguably, that result was deserved. As Liverpool lacked the creativity and were rather poor defensively. One must consider, the two early injuries to Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger had an effect on Liverpool’s organisation at the back.

But here is how we expect Liverpool to formate against Man City.

Formation – 4- 4-2


Yellow –= Movement made every now and then

Green = Movement which will be made often

It seems Liverpool will approach this game with a bit of caution, rather than overloading with attack. This is for two reasons. Firstly, Man City are a team with sensational players. These players have the quality to be dangerous all over the Liverpool half. Secondly, Liverpool are vulnerable defensively. It would extremely logical of Roberto Mancini to tell his players to try and penetrate though Liverpool’s full backs. As Jamie Carragher, 33, isn’t the fastest or most agile full back. So a tricky Mario Ballotelli, Carlos Tevez or an Adam Johnson could cause a serious threat. While on the other flank, Fabio Aurelio has just come back from injury. This therefore means his fitness and match sharpness may not be at the optimum level. And if Man City’s wingers ware the full back down it could expose massive gaps in the Liverpool back line.

However, it’s clear, Jay Spearing and Lucas will provide cover and support for the full backs. But when this happens, it will make Liverpool’s defensive line drop further. And Meireles would have to drop into a more defensive central role in midfield. This would allow Man City to give licence to one of their two holding midfielders to take a more progressive role. But it’s expected that Kuyt and Meireles will be vehemently tracking back to support the full backs, rather than the Liverpool’s central midfield losing discipline and shape.

The Manchester City boss has a real chance to get three points at Anfield. But his rather calculated strategy at times has hindered his sides progression and results in the big games. But he must consider, Liverpool aren’t great on the counter. Collectively, Liverpool are not the fastest squad in the league. So Man City should look to impose themselves and could potentially have success. As Liverpool do not have many players who can run with the ball at pace or the sheer acceleration to get into crucial positions in a counter attacking move.

Mancini’s style of play, playing with two holding midfielders will allow Liverpool the chance to impose themselves on the game. If Liverpool pass the ball at the right tempo and can keep the ball effectively, this would enable the team to be able to allow the likes of Lucas, Aurelio and Carragher to progress forward and provide support in offensive areas.

The trickiness of Carroll and Suarez will cause some concern for Man City. As Man City aerially, aren’t the best at defending. So this makes Liverpool dangerous on set pieces and along with good crosses. Expect Carroll to seriously ask questions of the Manchester City’s defence.

Furthermore, Luis Suarez will play in and around the whole attacking line for Liverpool. It’s expected that Suarez will pop up, left right and centre. His unpredictable movement and fantastic dribbling skills could have the effect to force the Man City defence out of position. It also works as a ploy, to expose space for the other Liverpool players in the Man City defence. Take the Liverpool v Man United game. Suarez’ brilliance led to the Man United defence to be widely out of position. This led to the likes of Kuyt and Meireles to creep into crucial positions and punish Man United.

I expect Liverpool to try long balls to Andy Carroll more often than not against Man City. This is because Liverpool’s full backs won’t be as progressive as they potentially could be. As the main choice full backs, Johnson and Kelly are injured. So the likes of Aurelio and Carragher will look to play diagonal and straight balls to Carroll’s head from the half way line, rather than crossing from the by-line. This is simply because, Liverpool could get grossly exposed by Man City’s pacey and tricky wingers.

To sum up, this will be a probably be a rather open game, both teams have quality in the offensive positions. While Liverpool defensively are shaky and Man City will look to exploit that. But the nuisance of Luis Suarez and the height of Carroll will cause serious concern for the Man City defence.

Prediction 1-1

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This weekend's Premier League predictions - preds from Micheal Cox (Zonal Marking) and John Bradley (LFCTV) -

England's new 4-3-3 system, is it the platform for English success? Part one - the positives -

Why Liverpool must use the abilties of Daniel Pacehco -

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