5 things we learned from Manchester City’s 1-all draw with Liverpool

Esteemed Kompany host Steven Mcinerney looks at 5 things we learned from Manchester City’s 1-all draw with Liverpool on Sunday. The champions left Anfield with a point after John Stones opener was cancelled out by an Alexis MacAllister penalty. Here are 5 things we learned from Sunday’s epic encounter between the two rivals at Anfield.

1. It’s time for Mateo Kovacic to feature more prominently.

It became apparent during the second half of Sunday’s draw that Manchester City had lost control of the midfield battle. Pep Guardiola’s side couldn’t retain possession in the face of the Liverpool press. Jurgen Klopp’s team pressed City at every available opportunity and had the champions on the back foot for a large portion of the second half.

It wasn’t until Mateo Kovacic was introduced midway through the second half that City regained control of the midfield battle. The Croatian international provided a calming influence in midfield during his cameo appearance. It was no coincidence that City looked closer to themselves with Kovacic on the pitch.

It does appear that it is time for Kovacic to rejoin the starting lineup as City chase history. If Manchester City are to defend the treble they need Kovacic in midfield. It could potentially be a move that restores balance to Pep Guardiola’s team as the tough tests await in the final stages of this season.

2. Stefan Ortega will be ready for his moment.

Unfortunately for Manchester City Ederson had to be substituted early in the second half due to injury. It has since been revealed that he will now be out of action for a month.

It was a positive for Manchester City that Stefan Ortega put in a determined display when he replaced Ederson. The world champions are blessed to have two quality keepers in their squad. City’s German keeper will now have his moment to shine. Given his display in a hostile environment, he will be ready for his moment.

3. Manchester City are still well-placed in the title race.

Despite the draw at Anfield Manchester City are well-placed in this season’s title race. Pep Guardiola’s side is only one point behind league leaders Arsenal with 10 games still to play this season.

The champions weren’t at their best at Anfield but left with a crucial point. It could be a vital result as the business end of the season begins. Pep Guardiola’s team are in a position they know well with 10 games to play in the Premier League.

4. The substitution of Kevin De Bruyne was the right call from Pep Guardiola.

Kevin De Bruyne’s reaction to being substituted became a talking point post-game. The Manchester City legend cut a frustrated figure after being withdrawn in the second half of Sunday’s draw.

But in hindsight, it was the right call from Pep Guardiola. The playing style of De Bruyne sees the Belgian midfielder take risks when in possession. It is a trait that has made De Bruyne one of the premier midfielders in world football. But in the second half against Liverpool City needed control. Mateo Kovacic provided that and it was desperately needed at that time by the champions. While it may have been a head-scratching call at the time in hindsight it seemed the correct decision by the City manager.

5. Julian Alvarez needs the game simplified to shine.

Manchester City’s World Cup winner Julian Alvarez wasn’t at his best at Anfield. Playing on the left wing he was guilty of giving away possession on multiple occasions as Liverpool’s press continuously caught out the Argentinian.

Alvarez did appear like a square peg in a round hole at Anfield. He traditionally plays his best football either upfront or as a number 10. Going forward it would appear that to get the best out of Alvarez he may be suited to a role he knows best. A more simplified role may see Alvarez return to the dazzling form he displayed earlier this season.

Tags Anfield Ederson Esteemed Kompany Julian Alvarez Jurgen Klopp Kevin De Bruyne Liverpool Manchester City Mateo Kovacic Pep Guardiola Stefan Ortega

1 Comment

  1. A number of things. First, Silva is playing well below his best and against Liverpool I would have subbed him and played KDB wide right to allow Foden his central role. Second, the way we defend leaves massive weaknesses. Besides the over-the-top ball, we also leave the area from outside the penalty box to close to the half way line too easy for the opposition to by-pass or recover position. Maybe this is because Pep is looking for Rodri to have more moments further up the pitch, but its like giving the opposition an easy passage to the heart of our defense. This has often been a problem in the past and not having someone to share the defensive midfield role is a mistake. Kovacic can definitely help in that regard. Thirdly, Alvarez is in the team to score goals and provide some energy but wide left isn’t working at all. Too bad Grealish is injured. We need some cutting edge there with Doku preferably as teams have to double up on him and he still does useful work there. Fourth, we can normally pace ourselves and often recover by just knocking the ball around for a few minutes. If a team is going to press us and get their tactics right we have to compete in that regard and some of the younger players should be used second half just so they can chase around. The team looks tired and we should plan our tactics accordingly. I have no idea why Haaland was left on against Copenhagen. He faded badly in the Liverpool game. I don’t think Pep is on top of his game with how he is managing team resources – but it is what it is.

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