By Mihail Vladimirov.
- Liverpool had few selection and formation choices to make as a result of injury and lack of preparation time
- City went with Pellegrini’s favourite 4-2-2-2 formation
- there were two interesting aspects to Liverpool’s play from the beginning
- heavy pressing by Coutinho, Lallana and Sterling
- Liverpool dropped back into a 5-4-1-like defensive shape when City were in possession
- City attacked mainly down their right, whilst Liverpool channeled their attacking down their left
- the combination of Nasri and Toure provided no defensive support and left Zabaleta overloaded
- City often overloaded down their right flank but failed to create much from it
- City’s defensive problems through Toure’s and Kompany’s shortcomings
- it left them unable to deal with Coutinho and Lallana roaming between the lines and the movement of Sterling
- the tempo slowed after the first 15 minutes
- by the end of the first half neither side looked willing to take the initiative
- it was Liverpool who took the initiative in the second half
- they did this by playing very differently to how they did in the first half
- Liverpool now targeting the right hand side
- the first City substitution (Milner for Dzeko) led to a change from 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1
- This didn’t help City’s problem areas
- Liverpool showed more energy than City
- Liverpool’s second goal preceded by a prolonged spell of possession
- City didn’t threaten much to get back into the game, which Liverpool saw it relatively comfortably
Apart from having to deal with the late return to England from Istanbul and not having enough time for proper recuperation and preparation, Rodgers had only Henderson available from the several injured players. But in terms of pure numbers – if not overall impact – this didn’t prove to be a huge boost as it became clear that Ibe was now going to miss the next month or so due to injury.
As such Liverpool’s starting XI didn’t provide any surprises, with basically all of the positions being a straightforward choice as there was a real lack of alternatives.
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