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Liverpool show defensive improvement against Man City

 
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chanoudom
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MessagePosté le: Jeu 5 Avr - 04:43 (2018)    Sujet du message: Liverpool show defensive improvement against Man City Répondre en citant

 
wwwpic5678 Liverpool have one foot in the Champions League semi-finals after their stunning 3-0 win over Manchester City at Anfield. The first-half was an attacking masterclass, but did the second show they have fixed their defence? Nick Wright examines the improvement.

Manchester City will be glad to see the back of Anfield for one season. Three months on from their last visit, when their unbeaten start to the Premier League campaign was ended so emphatically, they endured an even more traumatic night on Merseyside. Pep Guardiola knew what to expect but he did not know how to stop it.

In his defence, few sides could have coped with Liverpool's first-half performance. While City patiently probed in the opening stages, Jurgen Klopp's men prepared to pounce. Then, in the space of just 19 minutes, three City mistakes were ruthlessly punished. Liverpool's pressing was too much for Guardiola's side. Their finishing was clinical.

Liverpool's breathless first-half display evoked memories of that 4-3 win in January, but this time there was never any danger of a late collapse. The game will be remembered for Mohamed Salah's 38th goal of the season and for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's stunning second, but it also showed how far Liverpool have come in a defensive sense.

Manchester City barely got close to Liverpool's goal in the first half, and even in the second, when the hosts dropped deeper and Salah was forced off with an injury, they could not find a way through. Liverpool became only the fourth side all season to prevent City from scoring. They are the first to not even allow them a shot on target.

Goalkeeper Loris Karius was identified as a weakness before the game, but behind a back four of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson, he was a bystander throughout. Liverpool, so often exposed in the past, were disciplined and well-drilled. For the first time all season, City seemed to run out of ideas. wwwpic5678

It owed a lot to the £75m man in the middle. Van Dijk dominated Gabriel Jesus, winning every one of the duels he competed and marshalling the defence with the kind of authority Liverpool have so often lacked under Klopp. It was not the first time he has made a difference, either. In his last eight starts, Liverpool have kept five clean sheets and only conceded four goals.

The improvement can be seen at full-back, too, where Klopp has turned a problem position into a strength, with Alexander-Arnold moving to the top of the pecking order on the right and Robertson nailing down his spot on the left. Robertson has been one of Liverpool's most consistent performers in recent weeks, but it was Alexander-Arnold who shone brightest against City.

The 19-year-old's inexperience was exposed by Marcus Rashford and Wilfried Zaha recently, but up against Leroy Sane, he barely put a foot wrong. According to Opta, he made more clearances (10), more interceptions (seven) and more ball recoveries (10) than any of his team-mates. He prevented Sane from creating a single chance. Going forward, he also played a key role in Salah's opener.

Alexander-Arnold's display rewarded Klopp's faith and so too did Lovren's. The Croat has been a much-criticised figure since his arrival at Liverpool, but he was faultless when the pressure mounted on Wednesday night. An impeccably timed interception from a Sane cut-back and a brave header from an Aymeric Laporte cross were among his most important interventions.

Like Karius, Liverpool's defenders were afforded solid protection against City. James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain snapped into tackles and worked tirelessly in midfield in the first half. Then, with the added support of Georginio Wijnaldum, they kept their shape and closed off the spaces in front of Liverpool's defence in the second.

The shut-out secured Liverpool's fourth consecutive clean sheet in the Champions League and their sixth overall - the joint-highest in this year's competition along with Barcelona. It is another statistic which points to steady improvement at the back and it augurs well for what lies ahead.

Liverpool are holding firm in big games and, crucially, they are managing it against lesser opposition too. In fact, their defensive improvement in the Premier League actually pre-dates the coming together of their current defence. They have only lost to a team outside of the top six once all season. They have only conceded two or more goals against those teams on two occasions. wwwpic5678
 


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MessagePosté le: Mer 20 Juin - 09:57 (2018)    Sujet du message: This is no time to put your feet up, Leo! Messi gets lift to Répondre en citant

This is no time to put your feet up, Leo! Messi gets lift to training on a golf buggy as Argentina prepare for vital World Cup game against Croatia

 
sbo666 When you're one of the greatest footballers of you're generation, it's only fair you get to enjoy a few perks.That's why Lionel Messi was given a lift - along with Sergio Aguero and Marcos Rojo - on a golf buggy as Argentina trained ahead of their second World Cup fixture against Croatia on Thursday. While that trio put their feet up and were driven to the training pitch at the team's training base in Moscow, the other members of the squad appeared to walk.

Perhaps there is a natural desire to preserve Messi's energy ahead of the must-win Group D contest in Nizhny Novgorod after the star was stung by his penalty miss in the draw with Iceland on Saturday. Messi will try and make amends against Croatia, who come into the fixture in buoyant mood following their comfortable 2-0 win over Nigeria.Should Argentina fail to take all three points, they will face a nervy final fixture against Nigeria on Tuesday evening in Saint Petersburg.

sbo666 Messi turns 31 in a few days' time and has yet to replicate his myriad successes at club level with Barcelona in the international arena.He was left heartbroken when Argentina lost 1-0 to Germany in extra time at the last World Cup four years ago and has also been to the final of the last two Copa Americas only to suffer defeat.It is now 32 years since Argentina last lifted the World Cup and 25 years since their last piece of silverware, the 1993 Copa America.

They laboured through qualification for this tournament and looked ponderous and short of creativity in their 1-1 draw with Iceland despite boasting the likes of Messi, Aguero and Angel di Maria.'We will learn from what happened and we have to have the strength to win the next game,' said coach Jorge Sampaoli.Against Iceland, Aguero gave Argentina the lead in the 19th-minute only for Alfred Finnbogason to level the scores four minutes later.

Messi saw his second-half penalty saved by Hannes Halldorsson in a disappointing start to his tournament.'We have to look at what we need to correct from the Iceland match, but we can't dwell on it,' Argentina defender Gabriel Mercado said. 'We have to look forward and win the next match against Croatia.'Meanwhile, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has admitted he unashamedly turned to Messi's Barcelona team-mate Ivan Rakitic for tips on how to stop him.

sbo666 'I will use all the information I can,' he said, declaring Rakitic his temporary 'assistant' before the game.'There is no perfect way to stop Lionel Messi ... he is the greatest player in the world. But while one excellent player can make a great result, a great team does the job much better ... We will go into the game a little bit more relaxed than them.'
 


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MessagePosté le: Aujourd’hui à 20:06 (2018)    Sujet du message: Liverpool show defensive improvement against Man City

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