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Match Preview: Liverpool’s new defensive approach could make them easier to beat for Manchester City

Liverpool and Manchester City met four times last season in all competitions, with the Reds coming out on top on three occasions.

 

During those matches a quite incredible 18 goals were scored, with seven coming in the Premier League game at Anfield where Liverpool ran out 4-3 winners.

 

The same fixture comes much earlier in the season this time around, with both clubs looking like the early contenders for the title according to Premier league betting markets. However, Pep Guardiola’s City side won’t fear Liverpool anywhere near as much as they clearly did during the last campaign.

 

Judging by their start to this season and recent results, Jurgen Klopp clearly spent the summer working on making his team more solid at the back, and the Reds have now conceded just three goals in seven Premier League games – thanks in part to the impressive new centre-back partnership of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.

 

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However, this more defensive approach does seem to have had an effect on their attacking threat, which isn’t simply down to Mohamed Salah’s misfiring.

 

Last season Liverpool were known for their fast starts and free-scoring approach, but so far this year Klopp’s side have netted just 15 times in the league, with four of those coming on the first day against a West Ham side who were certainly still on the beach after the summer break.

 

The Liverpool fans at Anfield will be urging their side to come out and start quickly at 16:30 on Sunday afternoon, but don’t be surprised to see City shock the Reds with an electric start of their own.

 

Guardiola will relish the chance for his likely front three of Leroy Sane, Sergio Aguero and former Liverpool man Raheem Sterling to attack from the start, and they can do so more freely than last year in the knowledge that their defenders will feel more capable of stopping the counter-attacks coming the other way.

 

There is no doubt that Gomez and Van Dijk have both been very impressive in recent weeks, but Liverpool’s tendency to sit slightly deeper as a team this season could actually end up benefitting City’s game, despite it securing Klopp’s side some strong results so far.

 

If the current Premier League champions are allowed to dominate the pace and tempo of the game early on, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Liverpool looking happy with a point at this stage in the season.

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