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City, 07-10-18, PL (H)

After a disappointing result and performance against napoli we now have the pleasure of hosting our title rivals. Will this game decide where the title goes, of course not, will it give the winners a massive confidence boost, yes it will but going on current form the winner won't be us, anyway, onto the team.

Think we pretty much know who the back 5 will be so it's just the midfield and up front that's up for debate. We all know that Salah, Mane and Firmino are not on their game right now, especially Salah, i would start him but if there's no change in form from him up to 60 minutes hook him then and get Sturridge on and i mean 1 hour if not even sooner, none of this BS making subs with 3-4 minutes left of the game. Either one of Hendo, Milner and Wijaldum needs to be benched and i'm hedging towards Milner simply because of his legs, he's the oldest in the team and must be feeling more tired than the rest, let him sit this one out and bring in Shaqiri who's been one of our best players when he plays. The important thing is for Klopp to make his changes a lot sooner than he does, it's a big talking point amoung the supporters and rightly so, he leaves his changes way too late, it's the only gripe i have of him, rant over. My team would be, 

                                                         Allison

                                          Arnold    Gomez   VVD   Robertson

                                            Keita     Hendo    Wijaldum

                                             Salah    Firmino    Mane

I would personally drop Hendo as well but who do you bring in, Fabinho, no chance so Hendo it is. Like i said, Klopp has to make his changes much earlier in the game if it's not going our way, hopefully we can get at least a draw here and then rest a lot of our first 11 for the Huddersfield game, i've already banked those 3 points. Best of luck RedMen.

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        • We are really missing Oxlade-Chamberlain. Keita should be doing a similar job but he hasn't settled in yet. Aaron Ramsey may be available for a small fee in January. Anyone fancy him?

          With regards to the City game it was a good point in the end considering that we are at the end of an intense run of games against top opposition. We may see more rotation after the break as the fixtures are not as difficult on paper and the likes of Fabinho, Keita and Shaqiri could get game time.
          • Has Keita not settled in yet because he hasn't had a lot of game time? These players need to be playing to get the best from them, as i said to uncle, we spent 100million on a new midfield but their not getting much play time.
            Really don't think we need Ramsey but if for a small enough fee and wages then i suppose he would be another option but we're sorted really in midfield to be honest.
            I would taken a point before the game with city for sure, especially seen that we really should have lost had they scored that pen, we've got a nice run of games after the inter break so hopefully we see a lot more of the players you mentioned.
  • There seems to be a theme in games now. It would appear oppositions are trying to starve our front three of the ball, either by being on top of our midfielders as soon as they get the ball or by marking the front three in numbers so they can't receive the ball from the midfielders. It happened in the Napoli game and it happened again against City. This would explain why the number of completed forward passes from the midfielders to the attackers have dropped quite noticeably. I think Henderson twigged what was going on quite early because he started playing dinked passes over the top and lofted passes behind the attackers in an effort to bypass the defenders that were blocking the passes along the ground. Keita and Wijnaldum, however, maintained passing through the usual supply lines and had very litttle success.

    On the few occasions Salah did get the ball he only managed a couple of tame attempts. He keeps trying his trademark shot from the right side of the box where he curls the ball around the keeper but because there's no zip to the shot they're quite easily saved. Salah is getting into good positions, which is positive, but he seems to be more focused on accuracy than power and it's just not working at the moment.

    On the whole, we defended well, even if we did give away a penalty (and it could've been two). From what I can gather the decision to drop TAA was a tactical one but moving Gomez to fullback did diminish our attacking options a bit. Lovren is still an enigma - one minute he's making a clumsy challenge in the box that could've led to a penalty and the next minute he's making a superbly timed challenge to prevent a one-on-one with the keeper. With Lovren coming back it looks like TAA will be rested more but to me our back line looks more balanced with TAA, Gomez, VVD and Robertson.

    Overall, we didn't move the ball or keep possession as well as City and that's an area within our own control that we can improve. In the circumstances a point was a good result and to be equal top with 20 points at this stage is not to be sniffed at.
  • Lovren starting, jesus H christ, now i'm worried.
    • The defence has been rejigged because Trent Alexander-Arnold is on the bench. It's his birthday today so perhaps he couldn't sleep because he was getting a new bike or something.
      • HaHaHa, must have a bad hangover so, whatever the reason, i'm stunned by Lovren's inclusion.
  • City played with 3 central defenders against Hoffenheim so they may well play a system on Sunday similar to Napoli. At least Klopp will have had a few days to consider how to overcome that. It's hard to see how Liverpool can reach the level required to beat City after being so poor against Napoli but stranger things have happened. If the defence can stay solid there is always the possibility that the front three will find some rhythm and cause City problems. Winning would be a great way to go into the break but the main thing is not to lose.
    • I didn't realise City played a back three against Hoffenheim, that's curious. I wonder whether some of the managers have hit on a way to limit the impact of our front three? Sunday's match will be very interesting from a tactical point of view.
  • After the Napoli game Klopp said something along the lines of 'for the midfield it was impossible' and I think I've got an idea of what he meant. Napoli played three centrebacks so along with their fullbacks they were basically playing a back five. This was how they managed to smother our attackers with two or three players all the time. Much has been made about how few forward passes our midfield made against Napoli but that was probably because our attacking players were constantly being marked so we were forever recycling the ball while waiting for an opening. Why does this matter now? Well, I think that Napoli game was a bit of a one-off, we're unlikely to come up against a team in the PL that plays like that. Ancelotti said he'd purposely tailored his tactics to face Liverpool and I don't think Klopp, or his players, were really prepared for what they faced. Against City I think Klopp is on much more familiar ground and I think his players will feel more confident. It's likely Klopp would've started Milner, Henderson and Wijnaldum against City even without Keita's injury as he'll want to physically dominate the midfield. Klopp may stick with his usual front three but it's been suggested he may swap the players around, so Salah is in the centre. This could give Salah a fresh approach and make City's marking a bit more difficult. It'll be interesting to see how much Klopp stays with the same formula or whether he'll throw the odd curveball.
  • Just reading that Klopp has said Keita may not be fit for this game, if not then i would start Shaqiri, we need an attacking option in midfield seen we're at home.
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