Man City v Liverpool: Pep Guardiola's team will have shackles off - Jermaine Jenas

[img]" srcset=" 240w, 320w, 480w, 624w, 800w" sizes="(min-width: 900px) 50vw, (min-width: 600px) 70vw, 100vw" alt="Match of the Day" class="">
So far, the biggest week of Manchester City's season has been a failure - but they still have the chance to change the way it ends.They trail Liverpool 3-0 after the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final but if I was a City player, would I still believe they can get through[/img]

[img]data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="{width}{hidpi}/cpsprodpb/7BD0/production/_100769613_citygoalsstat.png" data-sizes="auto" alt="Stat showing how Manchester City have averaged 2.7 goals per game in the Premier League and Champions League this season">
City have scored 109 goals in 41 games in the Premier League and Champions League this season, hitting three goals or more in 20 of those matches. Liverpool have managed 106 in 42, an average of 2.5 goals per game.City have had so much disappointment over the past few days but they are not out of Europe yet.They know exactly what they have to do, and the shackles will be off - they will throw everything they have got at Jurgen Klopp's side from the start.It will be very interesting to see what Liverpool do in response. Their back-line has been getting a lot of praise lately, but it is going to get a real test at Etihad Stadium.The first 20 minutes are going to be so important in deciding the outcome - and if City get a early goal their confidence will soar and I think they will go on and get the other two.Whether they can keep Liverpool out at the other end is another matter, but the basis for any argument City will go out is that Liverpool will score an away goal - not that Pep Guardiola's side won't get at least three.
Media playback is not supported on this device
'Man City like a wounded animal with nothing to lose'
An ordinary season - or a way of reigniting it[/img]
The mental effects of back-to-back defeats - City can't afford doubts
[img]data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="{width}{hidpi}/cpsprodpb/11810/production/_100769617_pltabletop.png" data-sizes="auto" alt="Top of the Premier League table: 1st Manchester City, 2nd Manchester United, 3rd Liverpool, 4th Tottenham, 5th Chelsea, 6th Arsenal">
Before last week, City had lost only four out of 48 games this season, and two of those defeats were essentially dead rubbers in the Champions League.So Guardiola and his players will be hurting after following their defeat at Anfield by losing at home to Manchester United, especially because a win would have seen them crowned Premier League champions.It is inevitable that they will still win the title because they are so far clear, but they will be devastated not to have done it in the derby.That scenario is unlikely to happen ever again - it was a special moment for them but the chance is gone now, and this has turned into their toughest period of the season.
Media playback is not supported on this device
Guardiola and Klopp preview Champions League quarter-final 2nd leg
They were rocked by their performance and result against Liverpool, initially.But they had responded to each of their previous defeats this season with impressive wins and, at half-time against United, it looked like they were on to another good thing.At that stage, when they could have been five or six goals ahead, I was thinking that this is what Liverpool are going to be up against.However, it all went wrong in the second half when they conceded another three goals. We don't know what those two games have taken out of them mentally - or what sort of reaction they will bring.Has that result at Anfield affected them more than they thought it would[/img]

Media playback is not supported on this device
Liverpool like to play 'long ball' football - Fernandinho
Have City lost their aura?
I would not say that City's first-leg defeat last week made me question them at all, purely and simply because Liverpool could do that to any team at Anfield.Real Madrid, Barcelona, you name it - they could turn up there, have a bad day and get pumped 3-0.What happened against United, when City let a two-goal lead slip away, was strange and I don't know if the emotion of being so close to winning the title meant they took their foot off the pedal a little bit in the second half.But for me, having played in games that have gone the same way, it was not a case of City being found out, or switching off - more that it just wasn't their day.When I say that, I mean it felt like every single thing that could have gone against City did - without taking anything away from United.From the penalty decisions they did not get to Raheem Sterling missing chances when City were on top, it was just one of those days.Sterling will be heavily criticised for his misses but he has scored 21 goals this season and those sorts of chances have usually ended up in the back of the net.
City lost control - can they get it back?
Media playback is not supported on this device
Manchester United's reaction was first-class - Frank Lampard
If I was going to break the derby game down and analyse it tactically, then I would say what City were missing was the level of control they have had in most of their games this season.Usually, when they go a goal or two up, they can just dictate the game, set the tempo and get their players on the ball.This time, that midfield area was a little bit chaotic. United did really well to create that but they were helped by the absence of Sergio Aguero leading City's attack at the top end of the pitch.City were without him and Gabriel Jesus and that let them press as high as they wanted to. It meant their midfield got closer to City's players and - like Liverpool at Anfield last week - they did not allow them the space they like to operate in.Their capitulation in the second half - when they conceded three goals in 16 minutes - was down to a combination of things, but it still throws into doubt whether it will happen against the Reds, and also against Tottenham at Wembley next weekend.United did it a bit differently but both Liverpool and Spurs are capable of the kind of intense press and then breaking from high positions that causes City problems - and I am sure the Reds will try to do it again at the Etihad.Going on the attack is the only way both teams know how to play, which is why they are so good to watch.It would not surprise me if City score a couple of goals to get back into the tie - and I can't wait to see how it turns out.Jermaine Jenas was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.
See also:
Leave a comment
  • Latest
  • Read
  • Commented
Calendar Content
«    Январь 2019    »