Connect with us

Tactical Analysis

Tactical Analysis: Manchester City 5 – 0 Liverpool | Guardiola’s ruthless side


Charles Onwuakpa analyses Manchester City’s comprehensive 5-0 victory over Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium


The international break brought no joy for Klopp’s side as they were humbled by the men in blue. Braces from Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane guaranteed Manchester City a comfortable win, as they cynically took advantage of a nasty challenge by Sadio Mane on Ederson which had left the Reds down to ten men towards the end of the first half.

Manchester City 5-0 Liverpool

Man City (5-1-2-2): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Otamendi, Mendy, Danilo; Fernandinho; De Bruyne, Silva; Aguero, Jesus.

Liverpool (4-3-3): Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Klavan, Moreno; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Can; Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Mendy exposes Otamendi at the back

City’s ten man defence meant that they had full cover of the pitch’s width. Using a very high defensive line, City’s wing backs could press Liverpool’s full backs in buildup: this mainly happened down the left, as Mendy was more aggressive towards Alexander-Arnold while Walker on the other hand was more cautious.

The problem was that the French international often pressed too early and exposed Otamendi at the back. With Salah very wide  Liverpool could easily drag the Argentinian out of position and expose him to dangerous 1vs1s.

Otamendi’s rash style of play didn’t help matters too: he couldn’t deal with the pace of Salah and was by no surprise booked in the 6th minute due to a clumsy foul on the Egyptian. Liverpool soon recognised his weaknesses and often tried to feed Salah the ball quickly, with Firmino as well making attacking runs in behind Stones and increasingly stretching the space between City’s five man defence.

Liverpool had big moments but never really created big chances as Salah’s end product was often poor. Mane’s somehow debatable sending-off only made matters worse for Liverpool as well as showcasing once again Manchester City’s terrible application of the offside trap.

De Bruyne runs the show

Despite their defensive problems it was Guardiola’s boys who took the lead. They pressed very high up the pitch and forced Mignolet to play long balls, where their aerial abilities and quickness in attacking second balls made them dangerous on the break. This happened in the 24th minute when Henderson failed a clearance and Kevin De Bruyne quickly served a beautiful through ball for Aguero, who, as expected, did not fail to score past Mignolet.

In buildup City didn’t have many problems: Liverpool sat a compact, medium-high 4-1-4-1 block and, except Firmino, none of the forwards pressed with intensity, allowing Fernandinho to get access of the ball and quickly switch play towards the flanks, mainly to the left one where Benjamin Mendy outmuscled Trent Alexander-Arnold.

@11tegen11

Alternatively, David Silva would drop towards the Brazilian to ease the buildup, leaving De Bruyne in the attacking third and with Sergio Aguero to come deeper and link play up with success.

As said earlier, it was the Belgian’s slick delivery which killed the game: after a disallowed goal some minutes before, Gabriel Jesus got on the scoresheet towards the end of the first half by heading home an inch-perfect cross from Kevin De Bruyne, who created three chances and assisted two goals.

Klopp’s changes and City’s dominance on the left flank

After Mane’s red card, the visitors shifted to a 5-3-1 with Emre Can dropping into a right centre back role and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming on for Salah. City now became very comfortable in possession and didn’t allow Liverpool to get out of their own half for most of the game henceforth.

Despite Liverpool’s timid resistance, they once again got exposed on second balls and counterpressing: Fernandinho’s through ball split Liverpool’s defence in two and an unselfish Aguero gave Gabriel Jesus a brace on a silver plate. 3-0 after 53 minutes and game over.

@11tegen11

Liverpool’s passive defending was once more exposed when Leroy Sane came on for Gabriel Jesus: the German exchanged quick one-twos with Silva and Mendy which disrupted the visitors’ defensive shape many times, especially on the left wing.

Even though Klopp brought on Dominic Solanke and James Milner, Manchester City were all over the place: a beautiful, curled effort from Sane in injury time was all but a proof of how City had dominated the game (they had 64% of ball possession at the end of the match).

Conclusion

Liverpool had good spells in the first half but lacked in quality in the final third; Mane’s red card too also left Klopp without his best player of the season so far as the Senegalese will miss his next three games, pending appeal.

On the other hand, it was a comprehensive win for Guardiola, whose team can arguably boast the best attacking options in the league: they were shaky at the back (Otamendi could have been sent off in the first half if put under more pressure) but deserved all three points thanks to their “false 8” Kevin De Bruyne and the attacking duo of Aguero and Jesus, who, against the odds, have been doing quite well so far together.

Charles Onwuakpa
Follow me on

Charles Onwuakpa

Student | Football Writer | Podcaster & Blogger at Gioco di Spazi
Charles Onwuakpa was born in Lagos, Nigeria (1999) but lives in Italy: student, football writer, owner of "Gioco di Spazi" blog and co-founder of "Il Terzo Uomo" podcast.
Charles Onwuakpa
Follow me on

100 to Watch

Latest

Specials21 hours ago

Mr. Huddersfield: Why Andy Booth is a Huddersfield Town Legend

Sivan John takes us down a trip down memory lane as he tells the story of Huddersfield Town legend, Andy...

Talent Radar21 hours ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #11: Will Hughes and Donny van de Beek feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Bengaluru FC2 days ago

Three Things We Learned: Bengaluru FC 2-0 Mumbai City FC

Sami Faizullah discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Bengaluru FC 2-0 Mumbai City FC...

Indian Football2 days ago

Three Things We Learned: Chennaiyin FC 2-3 FC Goa

Hrishi Anand discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Chennaiyin FC 2-3 FC Goa Chennaiyin...

Indian Football2 days ago

Three Things We Learned: NorthEast United 0-0 Jamshedpur

Sauharda Karki discusses three talking points after the Indian Super League game finished NorthEast United 0-0 Jamshedpur The second game...

Talent Radar3 days ago

Veikkausliiga U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Season 2017: Talent Radar

As the Veikkausliiga season has finished, it is time for us at Outside of the Boot to recognize the accomplishments...

Indian Football3 days ago

Three Things We Learned: Kerala Blasters 0-0 ATK

Aravind Unnikrishnan discusses three talking points after the Indian Super League opener finished Kerala Blasters 0-0 ATK The inaugural match...

Indian Football5 days ago

Indian Super League 2017-18: Five Indian Players To Watch

Hrishi Anand looks at 5 Indian players to watch in the 2017-18 edition of the Indian Super League. The 4th...

Talent Radar6 days ago

Womens’ Young Player of the Year 2017: Vivianne Miedema

The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look...

Talent Radar6 days ago

South American Young Player of the Year 2017: Gabriel Jesus

The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look...

Talent Radar6 days ago

Oceanian Young Player of the Year 2017: Bill Tuiloma

The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look...

Talent Radar6 days ago

North American Young Player of the Year 2017: Christian Pulisic

The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look...

Talent Radar6 days ago

European Young Player of the Year 2017: Kylian Mbappé

The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look...

Talent Radar6 days ago

Asian Young Player of the Year 2017: Hee Chan Hwang

The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look...

Talent Radar6 days ago

African Young Player of the Year 2017: Naby Keita

The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look...

Opinions7 days ago

The revival of Dzeko and Kolarov

Travis Knoppert compares the quality and the recent revival of Dzeko and Kolarov with their cheap transfer fees. After only...

Tactical Analysis7 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Barcelona 2-1 Sevilla | Barca’s diamond-esque shape hands them victory

Miles Olusina provides a tactical analysis of the La Liga game that finished Barcelona 2-1 Sevilla Despite being written off by...

Specials2 weeks ago

USA out of the World Cup: What happened and what next for the Soccer Nation?

Anderson Moura has his say on the USA’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, what caused...

Tactical Analysis2 weeks ago

Tactical Analysis: River Plate 1-2 Boca Juniors | Organized Boca Punish River On The Counter

Youssef Amin provides a tactical analysis of the latest edition of the Superclasico as the final score read River Plate 1-2...

Tactical Analysis2 weeks ago

Tactical Analysis: Manchester City 3-1 Arsenal | Wenger’s defensive gamble proves itself a failure by

Charles Onwuakpa provides a detailed tactical analysis of the Premier League game between Manchester City and Arsenal that ended 3-1....

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 17-18

More on Outside of the Boot