These five players will be crucial in deciding the game…
Liverpool will be going to the Etihad with a three-goal advantage as they beat Manchester City at Anfield by a three-goal margin. Pep Guardiola’s side, who are on the verge of winning the Premier League title, were completely outplayed and must overturn a three-goal deficit to reach the Champions League semi-finals.
We are all set for an exciting game at the Etihad and the game will be featuring many star players who are capable of deciding the outcome of the game on their own.
Right on this note, let us look at the five players who will be the keys to deciding the second leg between Liverpool and Manchester City.
#5 Dejan Lovren
Dejan Lovren had been getting a lot of stick from Liverpool fans as he failed to justify his price tag and made quite a few high-profile errors.
However, he had a good game against Manchester City at Anfield and looked confident against the City attackers. He won some crucial headers during the game and was clear with his decisions as well.
With Joel Matip injured, Dejan Lovren will partner Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the Liverpool defence and the Croatian international needs to replicate his Anfield form in order to stop City from getting on the score sheet.
#4 Georginio Wijnaldum
Liverpool have a shortage of midfielders as they’ll be without Jordan Henderson and Emre Can for the second leg at the Etihad. That gives Gini Wijnaldum a chance to start the game and help Liverpool secure a place in the semi-finals.
The Dutch international was a part of Liverpool’s starting line-up for the Merseyside derby and was one of Liverpool’s best performers during the game. He worked tirelessly in the middle of the park and won many tackles for the Reds. His positioning and passing was impressive as well and completed 94% of his passes.
Wijnaldum will have a huge role to play against Manchester City and the former Newcastle man needs to be at the top of his game to prevent Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva from controlling the game.
#3 David Silva
David Silva has been performing consistently at Manchester City for the past few years and under Guardiola, he offers the control and creativity with his composure and brilliant passing ability.
The Spaniard failed to step up for Manchester City in the first leg and was often seen losing the ball quite cheaply at Anfield. However, he loves to play under pressure and usually delivers in the big games.
Manchester City fans will hope for some Silva service tonight and if Liverpool don’t stop him from threading his delicate passes, they could be in trouble.
#2 Kevin de Bruyne
Kevin de Bruyne has been at another level this season and no other midfielder has even come close to matching his performances. The Belgian is the main source of creativity for Pep Guardiola’s side and has provided 15 assists in the Premier League this season.
The former Chelsea man failed to make an impression during the first leg at Anfield and had a frustrated outing as he was pressed out of the game. Liverpool’s midfield could drop deeper tonight though as they have a three-goal lead to protect.
De Bruyne has the ability to score a worldie out of nothing or pick a stunning pass from virtually any position on the pitch, so whenever he has the ball, the Liverpool defence need to focus.
#1 Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk is quickly becoming a fan-favorite at Anfield and has stabilised the Reds’ defence in a few months.
Liverpool’s centre-back is the most expensive defender in the world and will be a major hurdle for Manchester City to overcome if they are to make it to the semifinals. He put a brilliant performance during the first leg against City and didn’t give Pep Guardiola’s front line even a sniff at goal.
The newly appointed Netherlands’ captain adds calmness to Liverpool’s backline and works as a leader for the team. He will be vital for the Reds and Jurgen Klopp will be expecting a lot from his record signing.
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