Guardiola chooses safe tactics

In away game against Liverpool Man City played extremely cautious and Guardiola pre-match comments that City will attack were statements that never materialized on the pitch. Man City played with usual personnel four nominal defenders, one defensive midfielder, two nominal attacking midfielders, two wingers and one forward but deployment was different comparing to other games. First 15 minutes Liverpool controlled ball, made multiple attacks and didn’t give City chance to play on Liverpool half, but Klopp side failed to create any dangerous chance only worry for Man City was that Fernandinho lost ball under pressure as Brazilian often does against Liverpool and give them opportunity for quick attack. Man City full backs didn’t go inside, stayed wide, Mendy on some occasions overlap and played more advanced with Laporte helping to defend against Salah, Walker played more deep because of Mane pace. Bernardo Silva played deeper to help advance ball to attack. David Silva essentially played as number 10 close to Aguero but City failed to bring ball to Spaniard. Liverpool played in mid block like in other City games and forced Man City to play wide. Portuguese midfielder was key for Man City to ensure better control of the game. Most of City possession was sterile between defenders, when City attackers got a ball Sterling, Mahrez or Aguero they often lost duels against Liverpool defenders.Liverpool and Man City played very safe, game first shots on target happened after 60 minutes. Best chances of game had Mahrez. Algerian shoot ball little wide after Silva pass, shot ball to near post which was saved by Becker and missed penalty in 85 minute. Guardiola changes of Gabriel Jesus, Sane for Sterling, Aguero made City attack more threatening. Gabriel Jesus dribbled past two Liverpool players and could have won penalty in duel against Lovren. Leroy Sane won penalty after Van Dijk failed tackle and generally German speed made defenders uncomfortable. Liverpool attacks didn’t produce one really great chance, Laporte and Stones  were City two best players. Guardiola in post-match interview admitted that City played extremely cautious. tried to slow down pace of game because of Liverpool front three and their dangerous counterattacks. Man City strategy was successful, Liverpool didn’t create one great chance, best chances in the game were in Man City. Guardiola first time didn’t loose at Anfield and City stayed top of the league on goal difference, with De Bruyne returning from injury after international break and are well positioned to fight for Premier League title.

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