The Liverpool fullbacks could provide the answer to undoing Pep Guardiola’s reported plan today. Once again, the Reds must turn to their unconventional creators.
Most notably, it puts two forwards up against Liverpool’s centre-backs. That’s not good, given that those centre-backs will be far from ideal whatever happens.
It could be Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, meaning two midfielders. It could be Nat Phillips or Ben Davies, who haven’t really played against a team this good.
Or it could be 20-year-old Ozan Kabak – a new, young signing.
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Fortunately, that 3-5-2 system may allow Liverpool to create some problems of their own.
One on one
3-5-2 means City playing with wingbacks and no wingers. They’d be backing their back three to match up with Liverpool’s forwards and give their wingbacks license to control the flanks.
Effectively, they’d just focus on stretching Liverpool and providing City’s width. They’d also be one-on-one with the Reds’ fullbacks.
And that’s an opportunity.
Liverpool have the best fullback duo on the planet and have done for three years now. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are, quite literally, the two most creative fullbacks in Premier League history.
For defenders, they hold the top four spots for assists in a season over the last 30 years.
Alexander-Arnold, in particular, is having a rough season, though. He’s not creating goals the way he used to and doesn’t look himself.
Well, this is the game put a stop to that.
If the Liverpool fullbacks can consistently get the other side of City’s wingbacks, they can eliminate all the width from their opponents.
The space is there, given there are no wingers to worry about. Get pas the wingbacks and you’re free.
They’d also ruin City’s plan of putting three against three in the back as their centre-backs would have to come across as help.
And you’ve got to back Robertson and Alexander-Arnold to do that. No other fullback pairing has been able to do that so consistently in recent years.
If they can do it, Liverpool can unravel Guardiola’s supposed plan and set up a win.