Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool return to Premier League action this weekend with a match at The Etihad against Manchester City. Since many players didn’t have to travel to play matches for their country, the Reds truly benefitted from the international break. Still, this is a match against the Premier League leaders and Liverpool are definitely the underdogs. Klopp has the tactical know-how to find the weaknesses in Manuel Pellegrini’s scheme but it will be up to the players to execute those tactics out on the pitch.
Simon Mignolet may catch a break if Sergio Aguero doesn’t start but given City’s ability to score from all over the pitch, the Belgian ‘keeper can’t lose focus. Mignolet will need to be assertive when the team is defending set pieces since that has been a weakness for much of the season.
Nathaniel Clyne will be facing the former Liverpool star Raheem Sterling but there is no doubt that Clyne is capable of keeping the youngster under wraps. Clyne’s disciplined approach won’t put him in disadvantaged positions and he knows that Sterling will be focused more on beating him one-on-one rather than crossing the ball into the box.
With the rumors played down, the move seems highly unlikely and can only benefit the player himself as Toronto FC are not going to let go of their star player after one season.
Martin Skrtel is a player who seems to play his best against tough opponents and he never backs down from a challenge. With Mamadou Sakho out with an injury, Dejan Lovren will likely start alongside Skrtel. This will be an important match for Lovren since this will be a big opportunity to win back many of the fans who have lost faith in him. He cannot afford to make any foolish errors that he usually commits when he stays on the ball for too long.
With Kevin De Brunye the likely starter on City’s right side, this will be Alberto Moreno’s most difficult assignment this season. The Belgian star has had no trouble adjusting his game to the Premier League and Moreno will have to be perfect to keep him from dominating the match.
Even if David Silva doesn’t make it back in time for this weekend, Lucas Leiva and Emre Can will still have a very difficult task. City has used Yaya Toure in Silva’s role during the Spaniard’s recent absence but Toure’s physicality could make him a tougher player to cover for the Liverpool defensive midfielders. Can is a powerful player but he is not capable of containing the raw energy of Toure.
While keeping their opponents off the scoresheet is important, Liverpool’s chances of winning the match will come down to whether the trio of Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino can break through the City defense. The City defense has only conceded 9 goals so far this season and even if the Liverpool attackers find a way through, they still have to get past one of the Premier League’s best goalkeepers in Joe Hart.
Daniel Sturridge is fighting to make it back in time for this match but he likely wouldn’t start even if he was fit. That means Christian Benteke will lead the line alone for at least the first half of the match. Benteke is a player who can win the match for the Reds but he also needs the service in order to be effective.
Via – Lineup Builder