Friday, November 25, 2011

United Then Chelsea And Now Liverpool Can Dent City's Title Charge

Liverpool employed speed merchants against Chelsea last weekend, with Johnson, Bellamy, Maxi and Suarez all starting against the Blue Champions. It turned out to be shrewd decision by Dalglish and his coaching team as the Reds pressed high up the pitch, robbing Chelsea players of time and space to move the ball.

Charlie Adam was especially instrumental in the win over Chelsea last weekend. Though his corner kicks are yet to reach the heights and standards that he set at Blackpool, his passing against Chelsea finally resembled Xabi Alonso, the player he was brought in to replace.

In recent seasons, Liverpool has become a team feared by title contenders and this season is no different. Without any real aspirations to be Premiership champions, the Reds are still "spoilers" as evidenced by victories over Arsenal and Chelsea. Only Spurs out of the top six have beaten Liverpool. At Anfield, Liverpool are unbeaten, but has not been able to turn home advantage into wins rather than draws.

Mancini is wary of the Liverpool threat but with City scoring two goals or more in every game, the stylish Italian will loathe to curb his side's attacking tendencies. That could work into Liverpool's favour as Chelsea found out to their detriment last weekend. Liverpool soaked up the Chelsea pressure in the second half and launched a devastating counter attack to clinch the match.

Suarez is clearly a key man, although he has not performed as well in his last three matches and so he is due another explosive performance. Although there will be temptation to play Carroll,  I believe that Dalglish's best side is the one against Chelsea. With Bellamy and Maxi in the side, there are other goal threats apart from Suarez, making Liverpool more dangerous. Against City, the speedy movements of Suarez and Bellamy can be a problem for the City defence.

Lucas Leiva has had an outstanding season though his work has gone unnoticed and unappreciated by some quarters of Reds' fans. Much like the legendary "water-carrier" Deschamps, Lucas' role allows the creative talents of Adam, Downing, Suarez and Bellamy to flourish. Even with all the dirty work, the Brazilian rank as one of the best passers in the Liverpool side, with an 85% passing average in his last six games.

Lucas is currently the top tackler in the Premiership and his abilities to break up a very fluid City midfield will launch a few potent Liverpool counter attacks. Liverpool scored two goals from three shots at goal against Chelsea, that shows they have worked hard to their finishing.

Fact is, Liverpool likes playing the big teams and will relish the chance to bring Moneybags City down to earth. With the form that the Reds are in, City could be heading for their first defeat of this season's campaign.

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