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Manchester City were rumbled – now they must respond against

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MessagePosté le: Ven 6 Avr - 08:08 (2018)    Sujet du message: Manchester City were rumbled – now they must respond against Répondre en citant

sbobet24 Only four managers have outwitted Pep Guardiola this season, and while Wigan’s Paul Cook, Shakhtar Donetsk’s Paulo Fonseca and Basel’s Raphaël Wicky were perhaps unexpected beneficiaries of propitious circumstances, Jürgen Klopp has done it twice to order.

The stakes could not have been much higher than in the last encounter either, and the emphatic nature of Liverpool’s win in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final gives some credence to Klopp’s insistence that, but for Sadio Mané’s unfortunate dismissal at the Etihad in September, Manchester City might not have skewed the balance of this season’s head-to-head contest in the Premier League by coasting to a 5-0 victory.

Even taking that result into account, Klopp has won more games than he has lost against the City manager – seven wins and one draw from 13 meetings – and though Cook is able to boast an unassailable 100 per cent record through his one-off FA Cup victory, no regular pitchside adversary of Guardiola’s can get anywhere close.

Certainly José Mourinho, whose often overcooked personal rivalry with Guardiola was at its peak when the latter was in charge of Barcelona, has not succeeded in unnerving the City manager in the way Klopp has. When Mourinho brings Manchester United to the Etihad on Saturday it will be for his 21st meeting with a Guardiola team. From the 20 previous games, Mourinho has four victories, with 10 defeats and six draws. Another defeat in a game that could see City crowned champions was widely assumed – though that was before the Guardiola gameplan was so spectacularly blown apart at Anfield. sbobet24

No one is suggesting for a moment that Mourinho is likely to copy Klopp’s tactics against City, with Romelu Lukaku asked to replicate Roberto Firmino’s pressing and movement, though United and their supporters can only be emboldened by the way the champions-elect have faltered right at the moment when everyone was expecting their supremacy to be rubber-stamped.

Actually, faltered might not be a strong enough word. City were rumbled at Anfield and for a short time in the first half the elegant construction that has drawn praise from all quarters in a seemingly unstoppable glide towards the title was rattled in a way that has not been seen this season.

Klopp was generous in victory, arguing that City did not play badly but were not allowed to create their usual number of chances, and he had a point. City did not play poorly by most teams’ standards, but, by the benchmark they have set for themselves, they were terrible.

Even Guardiola left himself open to criticism. Selecting Ilkay Gündogan ahead of Raheem Sterling was a conservative ploy that Liverpool were able to exploit, and not making changes to the system until almost an hour had been played and three goals conceded was hardly the sort of decisive interventionism that has earned the City manager such a cerebral reputation. Leroy Sané did not have a bad game, he just found himself up against an extremely capable full-back in Trent Alexander-Arnold, yet long after it had become obvious that City were not going to get any joy down the left wing, that is where the ball kept going. sbobet24

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MessagePosté le: Ven 6 Avr - 08:08 (2018)    Sujet du message: Publicité

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