Breaking news: Manchester City vs Liverpool: 5 things to watch out for in the 2nd leg of the UCL quarter-final clash
What to expect from the second leg of the UCL quarter-final clash between Manchester City and Liverpool.
Liverpool shocked the football world by defeating Manchester City 3-0 in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal clash at Anfield.
A beautiful finish from Mohammed Salah, a screamer from out of the box by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and a deft header by Sadio Mane were enough to do the job.
This time around, things are going to be different. The second leg is going to be played at the Etihad Stadium, the fortress of Manchester City. Going by the stats and the squads of both teams, it is going to be an absolute treat to watch.
Here are the five things one should look out for in this highly anticipated clash.
#1 City’s mauling of Liverpool
Manchester City has lost two crucial games in the business end of the season, when winning games lead you to silverware.
The most consistent team of the Premier League was first defeated by Liverpool in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinal fixture by an impressive margin of 3-0 and lost to city rivals Manchester United by 2-3 in the Premier League.
There could be multiple reasons to why they are experiencing a sudden bad run of games. Manager Pep Guardiola is quite experienced when it comes to Champions League.
He didn’t field his first team in the derby match against United and gave ample rest to stars like Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero.
Liverpool may be a very good striking unit but they certainly do not possess the discipline to defeat Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
The home support could work wonders for them and we all know how dangerous Manchester City can be if they get going.
The last time Liverpool played against City at the Etihad, City steamrolled them by a 5-0 margin. Could we see a repeat of the same?
#2 Aguero vs Salah – The battle of the Premier League’s best strikers
Sergio Aguero is already a legend in the eyes of every City fan. Manchester City have the most dangerous striker of the Premier League in Aguero. He has the tendency to perform in every single game either by assisting his teammates or by scoring goals.
Sergio Aguero has the record of scoring 15+ goals in each season ever since he joined the Manchester club, barring the 2012-13 season.
With an impressive 30 goals this season, Aguero shows no signs of slowing down and he could score a few against Liverpool.
Liverpool have their own talisman in Mohammed Salah. The Egyptian joined the Reds this summer, and since then has lit up the Premier League with his attacking display and goal scoring prowess.
He has scored an astounding 39 goals this season in his first full season in England. He played a very vital role in defeating Manchester City, each time they played at Anfield. Could he do the same again?
#3 The return of Kevin de Bruyne
Ever since Kevin de Bruyne left Chelsea for German club Wolfsburg, he hasn’t looked back. His performances in the Bundesliga were impressive enough to force Manchester City to shell out £55 million for him.
He has drawn comparisons to Xavi of Barcelona because of his supreme playmaking skills. Manager Pep Guardiola deploys him in the same pivotal role that he used to deploy Xavi in, when he was the manager of Barcelona.
He is a leading front-runner in the race to win the Premier League Player of the Year for his stellar performances this season. He was rested in the Manchester derby and was only brought on as a substitute later on in the game in the 72nd minute.
The Belgian would definitely be raring to go out there and win the game for his team.
#4 The tactical game: Guardiola vs Klopp
Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are the best managers when it comes to playing free-flowing, fast and attacking football. Both of them have made quite the impression with their near similar playing styles.
Klopp’s Liverpool constantly attack the ball, even when the ball is in the possession of the other team. High pressing and closing down the passing lanes are vital to his style of play. Klopp developed this style while he was the manager of Borussia Dortmund in Germany.
Guardiola is one of the best managers on the planet. His legacy as the most successful manager in the history of FC Barcelona is unchallenged. Guardiola’s Barcelona was a giant in footballing terms, and that was the very reason why Spain lifted the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
He combines tika-taka with fast attacking football making his teams unstoppable when they have possession.
It will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
#5 The attacking talent on display
We are going to see two sides with an arsenal of immense attacking talent lock horns with each other.
Liverpool have the poacher Roberto Firmino in front, flanked by the ever-dependable Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane. In the midfield, they possess the flair of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the composure of Jordan Henderson and the relentless energy of James Milner.
Manchester City on the other hand, have greater depth in attack. With quality strikers like Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus to lead the line, City have a midfield armada of Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva and Fernandinho.
The German wonder-kid Leroy Sane plies his trade on the flanks along with Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling.
We could see many goals on either side or maybe none at all. But it is going to be one spectacle of a match.