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Pre Match - Man City (a) - PL - Sun 1630

Discussion in 'The Football Forum' started by Brizzle, Apr 6, 2022.

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  1. peekay

    peekay Very Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't use serious upgrade. Gini was a monster in terms of holding the ball and giving us control in these type of intense games.
     
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  2. the count

    the count SCM's least favourite muppet Honorary Member

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    How Guardiola and Klopp left the rest of the Premier League trailing in their wake
    Oliver Kay 6h ago
    [​IMG]
    77

    It was one of those wet, blustery afternoons Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola had been told about. “Fighting football — what we in Germany call, ‘English football’,” as Klopp had described it admiringly during his days at Borussia Dortmund. “Rainy day, heavy pitch, everybody dirty in the face.”
    It was March 2017. Klopp had been at Liverpool for 17 months, Guardiola at Manchester City for just nine and it is funny, looking back at the line-ups that day, to note how much has changed in five years.
    Liverpool’s back four included Ragnar Klavan and Nathaniel Clyne, City had Willy Caballero in goal, Fernandinho and Gael Clichy as their full-backs and a nearly 34-year-old Yaya Toure at the base of midfield. Both managers sent on an extra midfielder in the closing stages: Lucas Leiva for Liverpool, Fernando for City.
    They were third (City) and fourth in the Premier League at the time, with Chelsea already out of sight and firmly on course to be champions in Antonio Conte’s first season in charge. Four days earlier, City had suffered the ignominy of elimination from the Champions League’s last 16, drawing 6-6 with Monaco over two chaotic legs but beaten on the away-goals rule. Approaching the end of a challenging first season in England, Guardiola was being doubted like never before.
    But what really sticks in the mind from that Sunday afternoon in Manchester — other than the rain, of course — is the intensity. It was relentless, played at a tempo you really wouldn’t expect from two teams not yet really built or conditioned to play the Klopp or the Guardiola way.
    The opening stages were breathless: possession football performed at a frantic pace. The tackles flew in — Nicolas Otamendi on Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino booked for a late challenge on David Silva. From a Fernandinho cross, Sergio Aguero took a tumble under pressure from Joel Matip and City appealed for a penalty. Michael Oliver waved play on and Guardiola looked furious. He let Klopp know about it too, shouting at the Liverpool manager as he ran towards him… only to break out into a huge grin and offer him a high five so flamboyant it seemed to be inspired by Borat.
    After a 1-1 draw that did not do wonders for either team in the pursuit of Champions League qualification, Guardiola called it “one of the happiest days of my life as a manager”. Not for the first time, journalists in Manchester were left wondering whether his use of superlatives was largely for his own amusement.
    But he was serious — proud, he said, that his players had produced such an upbeat response to that traumatic evening in the Champions League. “We were sad (in Monaco), so that is why I am so happy,” the City manager said. “My players put everything on the pitch. More than ever, I want to help the club — if they want to stay with me — and make the next step forward.
    “I came here for three years and I want to stay for three years. And next year, play better.”
    With the benefit of five years’ hindsight, some will say it was inevitable that City and Liverpool would emerge as the two great powerhouses of English football in the late 2010s and early 2020s, neck and neck in pursuit of the title once more, ready to do battle at the Etihad Stadium this Sunday and then again in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley six days later.
    With City, in particular, it is easy to look at the players Guardiola inherited when he arrived in 2016 (David Silva, Fernandinho, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Aguero) and the money spent over the subsequent years (on John Stones, Kyle Walker, Bernardo Silva, Aymeric Laporte, Riyad Mahrez, Rodri, Ruben Dias, Jack Grealish and others) and to shrug your shoulders and ask what else did anyone expect.
    But the season before Guardiola’s arrival, City, under Manuel Pellegrini, had finished fourth in the Premier League with just 66 points, ahead of Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United only on goal difference.
    Yes, they had won the League Cup for the second time in three years and made club history by reaching the last four of the Champions League, beating Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 on aggregate on course to a 1-0 semi-final defeat by eventual winners Real Madrid, but this was a team that needed serious work. Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Toure, Fernandinho and David Silva were all the wrong side of 30, as were others, such as Aleksandar Kolarov, Clichy, Jesus Navas and Bacary Sagna.
    [​IMG]
    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola in March 2017 (Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)
    City would finish that Guardiola debut season empty-handed, 15 points adrift of champions Chelsea. His decisions to jettison Joe Hart and marginalise Toure were questioned, as was his insistence on using De Bruyne and David Silva alongside Fernandinho in central midfield, where they, and City, were occasionally overrun. At that time, there were more than a few pundits, not to mention rival fans, suggesting that the great Pep Guardiola had met his match in English football.
    For City to then win the Premier League the following season with a record-breaking total of 100 points, while playing such mesmerising football at such a high tempo, was a triumph of coaching — rather than just, as some would have it, an inevitable consequence of chequebook management. (If you want a hint of where all that spending might have taken a club without an elite-level coach who reflected a clear, long-term vision, just take a look at Manchester United’s miserable performance since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in the summer of 2013.)
    No team had won back-to-back Premier League titles since Ferguson led United to three in a row between 2006-07 and 2008-09, but City won it again the following season, this time with 98 points. That is 198 points over two seasons while also winning the League Cup twice more and an FA Cup. Disappointments on the European stage notwithstanding, this was a level of performance, consistency and domination never previously witnessed in English football.
    To put that in context, in the four seasons from 2017-18 to 2021-22, Manchester United finished an average of 19.5 points behind City (and are 22 points adrift this time); Chelsea, Champions League winners last season and Europa League winners in 2019, an average of 22.5 points behind City; Tottenham, Champions League finalists in 2019, an average of 24 behind; Arsenal an average of 28.8 points behind.
    Or, to put it another way, out of 182 Premier League matches since the start of their second season under Guardiola, City have won 140, drawn 18 and lost 24. That equates to an eye-watering 438 points from a possible 546. Over the same period, Manchester United have won 338 points — precisely 100 fewer. Chelsea have 334, Tottenham 323 and Arsenal a mere 304.
    [​IMG]
    Guardiola poses with his City side’s third Premier League champions’ trophy in four seasons last May (Photo: Tom Flathers/Manchester City FC via Getty Images)
    “Big Six”? City have been intent on turning the Premier League into a monopoly, with every title race reduced to a procession. They have won three of the past four league titles and, going into Sunday’s critical match with Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium, remain very well placed to make it four out of five.
    But then there are Liverpool, who have somehow, from further back, on a considerably smaller (albeit still substantial) budget, risen to the challenge set by a City team Klopp has repeatedly described as the best in the world.
    In mid-February, after a 5-0 first-leg victory away to Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League’s first knockout round made it 19 wins in 21 matches in all competitions since the end of October, Guardiola was asked which team — if any — could stop City winning the lot this season.
    “Liverpool,” he said instantly. “Liverpool are six points behind us. Liverpool was our biggest rival in the last seasons. They always was there. A pain in the ass all the time.”
    In terms of time, Klopp had a head-start on Guardiola. In terms of resources, he was working with a severe handicap. The line-up for his first game in charge, away to Spurs in October 2015? Simon Mignolet, Nathaniel Clyne, Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho, Alberto Moreno, Emre Can, Lucas Leiva, James Milner, Adam Lallana, Philippe Coutinho, Divock Origi. The bench: Adam Bogdan, Kolo Toure, Connor Randall, Joe Allen, Joao Teixeira, Jordon Ibe, Jerome Sinclair.
    There was talent there to work with, but this was largely the same squad that, on returning to the Champions League in 2014 after a near five-year absence, had gone out in the group stage, winning one game out of six, before then being knocked out of the Europa League’s last 32 by Besiktas. Their big summer signing in 2015, when Brendan Rodgers was still manager, had been Christian Benteke, a target-man striker whose qualities seemed incompatible with the high-energy style early-season appointment Klopp had in mind.
    From a distance, Klopp had diagnosed Liverpool’s problem as a lack of belief among players, staff and fans alike. “At this moment the LFC family is a little bit too nervous, a little bit too pessimistic, a little bit too much in doubt,” he said. “We have to change from doubters to believers.”
    Barely two and a half years later, they were heading for the first of consecutive Champions League finals. Belief was sky-high.
    But “doubters to believers” is so much easier said than done. This didn’t happen overnight, or with the flick of a switch.
    Yes, there were some uplifting early victories (3-1 at Chelsea, 4-1 at Manchester City, uplifting runs to the finals of the League Cup and Europa League, only to lose both) but this was an inconsistent team that lacked quality in various positions and lacked the technical and physical profile Klopp was looking for. And when it came to reinforcements, money was considerably tighter than among some of their rivals.
    [​IMG]
    Mohamed Salah is unveiled at Liverpool in the summer of 2017 (Photo: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
     
    darkstarexodus and Alan Hardaker like this.
  3. the count

    the count SCM's least favourite muppet Honorary Member

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    In his first transfer window with Liverpool, Klopp’s only signing was a deal to take defender Steven Caulker on a half-season loan from Queens Park Rangers. In the summer of 2016, he signed Georginio Wijnaldum from relegated Newcastle United for £25 million and Sadio Mane from Southampton for £34 million, but their remaining deals of that window were at the other end of the market (goalkeeper Loris Karius from Mainz for £4.7 million, Ragnar Klavan from Augsburg for £4.2 million and Joel Matip on a free transfer from Schalke) — and this in the same close-season when City spent more than £180 million and Manchester United over £150 million, including a world-record, £90-million deal to re-sign Paul Pogba.
    But Liverpool’s progression under Klopp was clear: a team that had finished sixth (62 points) and eighth (60 points) in the previous two seasons came fourth (76 points) and fourth again (75 points) in his first two full campaigns. They became synonymous with fast, free-flowing, incisive football, as Mane began to link up with Coutinho, Firmino and Lallana.
    To make more substantial investments in the squad, Liverpool needed Champions League revenue. Securing a top-four Premier League finish with a 3-0 home win over Middlesbrough on the final day of the 2016-17 season was a watershed of sorts.
    True, they were not able to compete in the transfer market with City or United, who spent £200 million and £150 million respectively that summer, but who needs to spend £50 million on a left-back such as Benjamin Mendy when you can get Andy Robertson from relegated Hull City for an initial £8 million? And who needs to spend £75 million on a forward such as Romelu Lukaku when you can get Mohamed Salah from Roma for an initial £36.9 million?
    In the opening weeks of the 2017-18 campaign, Liverpool were flying.
    Then they came down to earth with a bump, beaten 5-0 by City at the Etihad Stadium. Much of the post-match discourse centred on Mane’s first-half red card for a high challenge on goalkeeper Ederson, but ultimately Klopp was more concerned by the ease with which his team had been dismantled by a City side who, after that challenging first season under Guardiola, were now threatened to sweep all before them.
    For the opening goal on 24 minutes, Kevin De Bruyne showed characteristic grace and vision in assisting Sergio Aguero, but Liverpool’s defending left Klopp apoplectic. “It was so easy to defend!” he told reporters afterwards. “Push up!”
    That was a familiar story for Liverpool in late 2017: thrillingly incisive going forward but so brittle at the back, losing 4-1 at Tottenham, squandering winning positions to draw 3-3 away to Sevilla (from 3-0 up) and Arsenal (having led 2-0). It is why eyebrows were raised when Klopp claimed, after that 5-0 defeat in Manchester, that “everyone can see we are not 500 miles away” from a City who were already out of sight in the Premier League.
    Liverpool’s trajectory had been upward in their first two years under Klopp, but the problem was that City now seemed to be going stratospheric with Guardiola. After 20 Premier League games in 2017-18, City had won 19 and drawn one, scoring 61 goals in the process. How do you even compete with that?
    The level City have maintained since the summer of 2017 is, frankly, extraordinary.
    Yes, this is an era in which the best teams dominate like never before — across Europe we have seen the competitive balance of old replaced by leagues where the inequalities between top and bottom (and often between top and second or third place) are stark — but to win 140 of their last 182 Premier League matches, over a period spanning almost five seasons, is quite staggering.
    But even more staggering is that Liverpool have ended up matching them almost stride for stride.
    Since the start of that 2017-18 campaign, Liverpool have 412 points — 26 short of City, but 74 points more than United and 78 more than Chelsea over the same period.
    Take it from the start of 2018-19 and Liverpool (337) are just a point behind City (338), losing 15 of 144 matches.
    Nobody envisaged that when Liverpool headed into 2018 with so many questions being asked about their goalkeeper (which at the time was either Mignolet or Karius), their defence and their ability to control the ebb and flow of matches. At their best, with Salah proving a revelation after a previous unremarkable two and a half seasons with Chelsea, they overwhelmed opponents with wave after wave of attacks. But there was always the nagging feeling at the other end that a lost ball in midfield, or a high ball into the penalty area, would result in an opposition chance, which often meant an opposition goal.
    That changed dramatically with the acquisition of Virgil van Dijk for £75 million — a world record fee for a defender, a valuation even City baulked at — early that January. Suddenly, Liverpool had the stability, authority and confidence to commit players forward without the constant fear of being hit on the counter-attack. With Van Dijk alongside them, everyone, not least Trent Alexander-Arnold, Robertson and Matip, looked more self-assured.
    Van Dijk was actually missing through injury on the day Liverpool ended City’s unbeaten Premier League record later that January. Three goals in nine second-half minutes around the hour put them 4-1 up at Anfield and, even though City pulled two goals back in the closing stages. Klopp, grinning from ear to ear, dropped an F-bomb in a live post-match interview with US broadcaster NBC.
    Just like City’s 5-0 win in the reverse fixture the previous September, it was a landmark victory. And it planted seeds of worry in Guardiola’s mind. In the build-up to the two rivals’ clash in the Champions League quarter-finals three months later, the Amazon Prime cameras caught the City manager telling his assistants that “those three up front” — Salah, Mane and Firmino — “they scare me, they’re dangerous”.

    He was right. All three scored, and Liverpool won 5-1 on aggregate.
    Even though they ended the season empty-handed once more, beaten by Real Madrid in the Champions League final and finishing fourth in the Premier League, it was now increasingly clear that any threat to City’s growing domination was going to come from Liverpool rather than Chelsea, Tottenham or United.
    How best to quantify the difference between City and Liverpool in the 2018-19 season, when they produced a Premier League title like no other?
    You could say that City won it by a point, or you could recall the image of the goal-decision system saying that the ball came within 11 millimetres of crossing the line before John Stones, at full stretch, produced a remarkable clearance to deny Mane when the sides met at the Etihad on January 3.
    [​IMG]
    Image: Sky Sports
    Liverpool, further reinforced by the signings of Alisson and Fabinho, had been unbeaten for their first 20 Premier League matches, but City proved just too strong that Thursday night, winning 2-1 to reduce Liverpool’s lead at the top of the table from seven points to four.
    That was Liverpool’s only defeat of the entire league campaign, but, up against such flawless opponents, it proved one too many.
    In terms of technical quality and breathless drama, it is doubtful there has been a better game in the Premier League in recent years.
    If that meeting in March 2017 had offered hints of what was to follow, here were two teams who now reflected the vision of the respective managers. Both had artistry and creativity in abundance, but it was the relentlessness of Fernandinho and Bernardo Silva in the City midfield — as well as that Stones clearance and Leroy Sane’s winning goal with 20 minutes to go — that proved the difference.
    “I don’t remember a league so tough,” Guardiola said afterwards. “There are so many huge contenders fighting for the title. Every game is a final.”
    The reality is that City and Liverpool were streets ahead of the rest. We kept imagining there would be more twists and turns, that both teams would drop points along the way, but they didn’t.
    The margin for error was almost non-existent. Liverpool lost just that one league match all season, won their final nine and recorded a total of 97 points.
    But City just kept on winning — 18 of their final 19 matches after a Boxing Day loss to Leicester — and ended with 98, securing a second consecutive league title by coming from behind to beat Brighton 4-1 away on the final day.
    Liverpool, still chasing their first trophy under Klopp, had to settle for winning the Champions League final, against Spurs, three weeks later.
    Not a bad consolation.
    In the breathless hours after the victory over Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid, Klopp was ushered this way and that, going from one television interview to another. At one point, between interviews, a phone was thrust into his hand by Liverpool’s physio Lee Nobes, who had previously worked at City.
    It was Guardiola, calling to offer congratulations. It was a brief conversation, but a very warm one. “We promised each other that we will kick each other’s butts again next season,” Klopp said. “We will go for everything and see what we get.”
    To say that Liverpool went for it in 2019-20 is an understatement.
    Klopp stuck with the same squad, other than two new back-up goalkeepers, but his was a team on a mission, winning 26 of their first 27 Premier League matches, including a memorable 3-1 victory over City at Anfield in the November, and drawing the other. City, after two near-impeccable campaigns, suffered a couple of unexpected defeats early on and looked tired and jaded, as well as short of bodies in central defence, as Liverpool surged away into the distance.
    Nothing was going to stand between Liverpool and that first league title for 30 years. The only obstacle that came close to doing so was the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused football to be suspended for three months with the trophy within touching distance and sparked alarming calls for the season to be declared null and void. When the games began again in the June, it was behind closed doors, the stadiums empty.
    The eventual celebrations, when Jordan Henderson lifted the Premier League trophy surrounded by his team-mates on an otherwise deserted Kop at Anfield, lacked the expected fervour.
    [​IMG]
    Jordan Henderson of Liverpool holds the Premier League trophy aloft in a largely empty Anfield (Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
    So did the season that followed, a campaign played out almost entirely in the shadow of the pandemic.
    For the first time since the summer of 2018, questions were being asked of Guardiola, who had begun to look a little drained by the challenge of keeping City at the top. Questions were certainly asked of his defence and whether, for all the money they had spent, they had players who could fill the void left by the summer departures of Vincent Kompany and David Silva and by the lessening impact of Fernandinho and Aguero.

    The answer was an emphatic yes.
    Ruben Dias proved to be City’s new defensive linchpin. Rodri emerged as Fernandinho’s successor at the base of midfield. Phil Foden began to develop into a top-class creative talent in the David Silva mould, albeit deployed a little further forward. As for a top-class centre-forward to take over from Aguero, Guardiola found himself working quite successfully without one, both before and since missing out on a deal to sign Harry Kane from Tottenham last summer.
    City made it three titles in four years, and if their winning points total (86) was considerably lower — perhaps reflecting the struggle to maintain the same levels of intensity in such strange conditions — it was still 12 points more than second-placed Manchester United and 17 points better than Liverpool, who were back in third, and relieved to salvage Champions League qualification from a campaign that had been in apparent meltdown a couple of months earlier.

    That earlier stat about Liverpool losing just 15 out of 144 Premier League matches since August 2018? It is all the more mind-boggling when you consider eight of those 15 defeats came in the space of 12 matches early last year when, ravaged by defensive injuries and seemingly demoralised by the joylessness of pandemic-era football, they seemed to lose their way completely.
    Their six consecutive losses at an empty Anfield during that two-month period are, incredibly, Liverpool’s only six at home in the league since April 2017.
    Klopp accepted the reasons for playing in empty stadiums, but he said it was “absolute bollocks, bullshit. It doesn’t feel right.” Even Guardiola said it was “like a friendly every time, It’s a completely different game. You feel empty.”
    At the end of last season, Guardiola applauded the spirit and mental strength of his champions — an underrated trait of his team of many talents — in sticking to the task and retaining their focus while all their rivals lost their way at one time or another.
    Come 2021-22, he was sure their biggest rivals would push them harder.
    Even after such a strong finish to last season, it was tempting to wonder whether this Liverpool side would fully recover from the series of setbacks they had suffered — whether Van Dijk would return to his imperious best after a long-term ACL injury and whether, with Salah and Mane among so many players approaching or beyond their 30th birthdays, this team would regain the mental and physical intensity they had demonstrated in pursuit of the league title that had been an obsession.
    They still seemed heavily reliant on that core of players signed between 2016 and 2018 — Mane, Salah, Robertson, Van Dijk, Alisson, Fabinho — as well as Alexander-Arnold. Had the club’s American owners invested enough to build on their breakthrough under Klopp? Had enough been done to stop this team falling into decline?

    Liverpool’s response this season, particularly since the turn of the year, has been emphatic.
    There were a few points dropped carelessly early on, which they might live to regret next month, but the quality and consistency of their performances has been extremely high. Players such as Diogo Jota, Thiago and, more recently, Ibrahima Konate and January arrival Luis Diaz have brought fresh quality and vigour to Klopp’s squad. With the Carabao Cup already secured, a 3-1 victory away to Benfica in Lisbon on Tuesday night in the first leg of a Champions League quarter-final kept alive their hopes of an unprecedented quadruple.
    But … just as they are a near-constant threat to City — “a pain in the ass”, to repeat Guardiola’s description — so the reverse applies. How can Liverpool dream of a quadruple, or City dream of emulating Manchester United’s treble success of 1999, when it will mean overcoming the other to win the Premier League, and just to reach the FA Cup final and when, quite feasibly, they could end up facing each other in the Champions League final in Paris on May 28?
    These are two brilliant teams reaching and sustaining levels of consistency never seen before in the English game. Debates will rage about where or indeed whether they sit in the pantheon of great club teams — Liverpool could really do with a second Premier League title, just as City could really do with a first European Cup — but in terms of the quality of their football, week after week, season after season, it has been remarkable.
    As for looking beyond the numbers, is anyone really going to claim that Guardiola’s City and Klopp’s Liverpool don’t quite pass the eye test?
    In terms of timing and what is at stake, Sunday’s meeting is the most eagerly awaited Premier League match for years. It will not necessarily be decisive, with another seven rounds of fixtures to follow, but the two teams’ consistency has been such that it is not easy to predict too many slip-ups after that.
    Then, after the midweek return legs of their Champions League quarter-finals, comes that FA Cup semi at Wembley next Saturday — very much third on the list of priorities for both clubs right now, but a big, big deal when it happens. As for whether City and Liverpool do end up meeting again in Paris, that remains a long shot for now, even if predictive models such as fivethirtyeight.com suggest it is the most likely final (with City winning it).
    It leaves you wondering just how much easier life would be for both of these teams if the other had just settled for the dysfunction and mediocrity that has taken hold of United, Juventus and Barcelona over recent years — but then again, it might just be the case that, like Ali and Frazier, like Senna and Prost, like Messi and Ronaldo, City and Liverpool have found themselves driven on by the excellence of their rival.
    When Guardiola said recently that Liverpool are the toughest opponents he has faced in his career, Klopp said he was inclined to agree. “We pushed each other on to insane levels in the last few years,” the German said.
    “Insane levels” is a good way of putting it. And when the stakes are so high and the margin for error so small, the line between total success — potentially on a scale that had been beyond their wildest dreams — and disappointment on one, two or even three fronts is wafer-thin.
    So, yes, we are talking about insane levels: two brilliant teams scaling remarkable heights and, barring the odd slip, maintaining them over a four-year period — or in City’s case, five.
    These are two all-conquering teams, but when it comes down to the Premier League title race, only one can win.
     
  4. rurikbird

    rurikbird Part of the Furniture Honorary Member

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    True, I just never liked him and Hendo playing in a midfield 2 together. By contrast, Fabs and Thiago seem tailor-made for each other.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2022
  5. Modo

    Modo A contentious scando Member

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    Just like Mascherano and Alonso.
     
  6. Woland

    Woland Part of the Furniture Member

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    Or Lucas and Poulson
     
  7. Markeh

    Markeh Very Well-Known Member

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    they’re proper footballers, i love Hendo and Gini but these two grew up taking their football to bed every night
     
  8. Woland

    Woland Part of the Furniture Member

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    Remember when we beat these dickheads three nil about ten years ago and Spearing took Yaya Toure out the game? We got this.
     
  9. Shay_K

    Shay_K Si tacuisses philosophus mansisses Member

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    From a distance, Klopp had diagnosed Liverpool’s problem as a lack of belief among players, staff and fans alike. “At this moment the LFC family is a little bit too nervous, a little bit too pessimistic, a little bit too much in doubt,” he said. “We have to change from doubters to believers.”
     
  10. The Nomad

    The Nomad Very Well-Known Member

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    Rent free springs to mind!
     
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  11. momoWASboss

    momoWASboss If you take me seriously then you’re an idiot Member

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    He’s got a twitchy arse. Like the arses of the dogs he shags.
     
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  12. Frogfish

    Frogfish Gone to Redcafe Member

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    Absolutely this. A draw and it's City's to lose. Lose and it's over.

    We need to win, then the ball is truly in our hands because if we stay ahead on the GD then we could afford even a draw.
     
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  13. rubans

    rubans Well-Known Member

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    More build up:

     
  14. Red rose

    Red rose Well-Known Member

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    City are one point clear of Jurgen Klopp‘s side and the result in Manchester is likely to have a huge bearing on who eventually takes home the trophy next month.
    While most of Liverpool’s starting lineup picks itself, guessing who will play out of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino is bordering on impossible.
    We have asked Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87), Red (@TaintlessRed), Liam Togher (@liamtogher88) and Jack Lusby (@LusbyJack) to provide their thoughts on the matter, pick their attacking unit and predict what Klopp will go with.


    https://www.thisisanfield.com/2022/...ttack-vs-man-city/?utm_source=morningbriefing
     
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  15. Tinto

    Tinto Very Active Member

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    It's been such a long time that the front 3 picks itself, I can't get used to us having options
     
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  16. Frogfish

    Frogfish Gone to Redcafe Member

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    There's an interesting article on the BBC website on the metrics of these two teams : https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/60980978?at_medium=RSS&at_campaign=KARANGA

    One very important change (that maybe suits us better) is that this season City have greatly increased the number of crosses they make :
     
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  17. Frogfish

    Frogfish Gone to Redcafe Member

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    Some stats to emphasise the above :

    Nielsen Gracenote's Euro Club Index estimates a 61% chance of City lifting the trophy, compared to 39% for Jurgen Klopp's team.
    As you might expect, though, the result of Sunday's meeting can make a huge difference to the prospects of both teams.
    Victory for Pep Guardiola's side will increase their chance of lifting the trophy to 86% and reduce Liverpool's to 14%.
    But an away win will make Liverpool favourites with a 68% chance of finishing first, compared to City's 32%.
    A draw between the two will produce little change in the current situation, with City's chance of becoming champions increasing slightly to 63%, with Liverpool on 37%.
     
  18. Red rose

    Red rose Well-Known Member

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    Yes I was thinking the same..
     
  19. Alan Hardaker

    Alan Hardaker Fred Dwarf Member

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    Both City and Chelsea are bought and paid for off the peg clubs. Manufactured pop up clubs. Both had fairly limited success down the years. We on the other paw, are a proper club, a proper proper..I mean proper...cl..turning into Merson..

    Anyway I think we have the slight advantage, could be the game where Mo turns it on, he's been misfiring of late but genius will out.
     
  20. Alan Hardaker

    Alan Hardaker Fred Dwarf Member

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    Could the Boss be thinking Nabby over Thiago. Don't know the numbers but does Nabby press better than Thiago. Thiago can pick a pass but he does play the odd stray ball now and again. Does Nabby offer a bit more goal threat. Probably be Thiago but I wouldn't be surprised if Nabby got the nod.
     
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