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Manchester City vs Liverpool – 3 Tactical Battles That Could Decide The Fate Of The Premier League Title

Manchester City vs Liverpool
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Liverpool travel to Manchester City on the 10th of April in the most-anticipated clash of the 2021/22 Premier League season, which will have a massive bearing on who goes on to win the title. Ahead of their meeting at the Etihad, the Reds trail Manchester City by just one point in the league table with nine games to go and could leapfrog their title rivals to take the top spot with a victory on enemy territory.

With Mohamed Salah, Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva all in action on Sunday night, this encounter involves some of the biggest names in world football, and here are some tactical battles that could decide the fate of this all-star clash.

3. Mohamed Salah vs Joao Cancelo


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The last time these two sides met in 2021, Mohamed Salah had Joao Cancelo on toast for most of the 90 minutes. The right-footed left-back struggled against the pace and trickery of the Egyptian King, who scored one of the most memorable goals of the season in the second half after beating the Portuguese outside the penalty area and firing in a shot past Ederson.

With Guardiola insisting on playing Cancelo as an inverted full-back alongside Kyle Walker on the other side, the two players are likely to meet again on the 10th of April in Manchester. While Liverpool can score goals in many ways – pressing, forcing turnovers high up the pitch, set-pieces – one of their primary methods of chance creation is by isolating Mohamed Salah against the left-back or having the Egyptian drift inside and get on the end of one of Robertson or Alexander-Arnold’s trademark crosses.

Along with the LCB (Laporte) and LCM (Gundogan/KDB), Cancelo will have to be wary of Salah’s threat and work as a team to neutralize the threat of Liverpool’s most effective attacking weapon.

2. Raheem Sterling vs Trent Alexander-Arnold


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Similar to Salah versus Cancelo down Liverpool’s right-wing, Liverpool’s Achilles heel from a defensive standpoint is their right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold. Although the Englishman is a much better defender than he is given credit for, his aggressive positioning in attack and occasional lapse in concentration leaves him exposed at the back.

During Liverpool’s trip to Arsenal in March, Gabriel Martinelli showed that a quick, nimble-footed winger makes Trent uncomfortable in 1-on-1 situations, as the Brazilian continued to get the better of the right-back throughout the 90 minutes. For Manchester City, Raheem Sterling could be the perfect player to exploit this tiny chink in Liverpool’s armour. Just like Martinelli, the Englishman can use his speed, close control and ability to run with the ball to either isolate Trent or create 2v1 overloads on the left wing along with a full-back or midfielder.

1. Pep Guardiola vs Jurgen Klopp


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While there are tonnes of intricate tactical battles spread all across the pitch in this superstar clash, at the end of the day, it all comes down to the two managers. Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are arguably two of the greatest coaches in world football right now, who have taken their respective teams to unimaginable heights over the last five years.

Although both teams are likely to set up in their usual 4-3-3 system, the two sides employ slightly contrasting playstyles, with Guardiola’s Manchester City focused more on dominating the game through possession while Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp lean towards a high-pressing and counter-pressing structure.

Manchester City have had the wood over Liverpool in this fixture of late – with the Reds winning just one of their last eight meetings against City – but all form goes out the window come Sunday night, and it’s anyone’s guess who is going to come out on top in the title-showdown in East Manchester.


[Featured Image Credit: @guvnorstangerang]