Photo Credit: Daily Mail
Manchester City and Liverpool will be put to the test against each other as these two Premier League powerhouses get set for a showdown at Etihad Stadium on September 9.
Man City have been having defensive meltdowns lately after giving up first half goals to their opponents over the last two fixtures they’ve played so far. They managed to scrape by with a one all draw against Everton after recovering from Wayne Rooney’s goal. While they got a 2-1 win against Bournemouth despite allowing Charlie Daniels to get one on target early in the game.
While the Reds have shown surprising depth for a team that’s been plagued with injuries and the Philippe Coutinho drama during their early matches in the Premier League and the Champions League. They even got a shocking 4-0 win over Arsenal in their latest fixture to announce their new found offensive dominance.
Manchester City (4-3-3)
FW – Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva
MF – Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho, David Silva
DF – Benjamin Mendy, Vincent Kompany, Nicolas Otamendi, Kyle Walker
GK – Ederson
FW – Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah
MF – Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, Emre Can
DF – Alberto Moreno, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez
GK – Simon Mignolet
Rediscovering Man City
From left to right: Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane, and David Silva, Photo Credit: Manchester City FC
Pep Guardiola has formed a squad which could challenge for the Premier League’s crown while having enough to get a legitimate shot at the Champions League this season. However, his team has been plagued with offensive and defensive inconsistencies so far as they continue to experiment with what works best for their side.
Most notably, the Sky Blues have been struggling to defend their middle third especially with the heavy burden placed on Fernandinho’s shoulders because of their high-pressing full-backs. Unfortunately, the defensive midfielder won’t get any rest any time soon since Ilkay Gundogan is still recovering from a knee injury. While they also haven’t found the right formula to wreak havoc on the league’s defenses despite boasting one of the league’s top offenses.
They might attempt to deploy the 4-3-3 formation again after seeing their 3-1-4-2 formation fail miserably against the Toffees. However, there will be some key changes to the lineup since Kyle Walker will be returning after serving a one match ban while Raheem Sterling will be looking on the sidelines after he got slapped with a red card due to his over the top celebration by the end of their match versus the Cherries.
Red hot Reds
From left to right: Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Emre Can, and Sadio Mane, Photo Credit: Mirror UK
Questions of depth and stability in the locker room have plagued the Reds throughout the whole transfer window but they’ve managed to soldier on and emerge triumphant amidst the uncertainty. Mohamed Salah has gelled with the likes of Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino to form a formidable trio up front while the addition of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who passed up Premier League champions Chelsea, has added much needed depth for their midfield. Injury stricken players are also returning to the fold as they attempt to mend fences with Philippe Coutinho who ended up staying after they endured a slew of offers from a cash laden Barcelona.
We can expect them to reintegrate Coutinho into the lineup by giving him some minutes on the bench despite the uncertainty of whether the Brazilian would go on strike after his dream move was denied. While Oxlade-Chamberlain could also appear as a sub in his debut so he could work his way up Liverpool’s stacked middle third.
All is well for the Reds despite the absences of Adam Lallana due to a thigh injury and Nathaniel Clyne because of a hamstring problem. They even managed to put the icing on top of their cake after they thumped Arsene Wenger’s side in their latest fixture against Arsenal.
The Sky Blues are still struggling to find their groove with various new additions to the team as they search for the best way to utilize their strengths. Guardiola has got to find a solution for his side’s inconsistency or face the same fate they suffered last season as they slowly saw their title hopes squandered with every lackluster match.
While confidence is high with the Reds after the success they’ve experienced lately. Though still far from a perfect side after missing the likes of Virgil van Dijk, the players have bought into Jurgen Klopp’s system as they look to contend with what they have. As for the retention of Coutinho, they’ve sent a clear message to the whole league that they’re not joking around.
Projected Outcome: Liverpool 3-2 Manchester City