Tuesday, 3 January 2012

City vs Liverpool: Match Preview

The Christmas period has been one that everyone connected with City will want to forget. After picking up just four points from a possible nine, it is a poor return and it has led pundits to believe that City are starting to crumble under the pressure.

Three key players? Barry, Aguero and
Dzeko need to perform tomorrow if they play
However, in the games where points were dropped against West Brom and Sunderland, we were very unlucky to not pick up maximum points in both fixtures. The thing that will be worrying Roberto Mancini is the lack of clinical finishing from the Blues. It seems that our strikers are unable to hit a barn door at the moment, something that must be a grave concern considering our upcoming fixtures.

With Mario Balotelli supposedly set to miss out his second consecutive game after picking up a knock, it will be up to the likes of Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko to give City their first goal for two games.

Liverpool travel to the Etihad in better form, with just one defeat in their last 14 games, and this is sure to give the Anfield faithful some confidence, even if they do travel to a ground where the only Premier League team to pick up a point in 2011 was Fulham.

Something which has helped Liverpool in recent weeks is their defence, which has actually been unchanged in the past five games, and the imminent return of Steven Gerrard is a massive boost for Liverpool, whose cameo appearance on Friday night against Newcastle helped The Reds to victory in an increasingly bemusing season. It is Liverpool's away form which has kept them at the top end of the league, conceding just two goals in their last six away matches.

It will be interesting to see how Liverpool approach this game though. Considering how well both West Brom and Sunderland stopped us by playing a 10-man defence, you have to wonder whether Kenny Daglish will opt for this mentality to help prevent City scoring. If they are to play like this, you have to imagine that the return of Luis Suarez from a one match suspension will be crucial to any chances they have of getting any points.

One to watch: Barry is a key player
for City this season
There is also the small matter of the return of Craig Bellamy, who will need to be watched carefully as he has the ability to be a match winner and will certainly be out to prove a point to his old manager, who showed the Welshmen the door at City.

If Liverpool are to get anything from the match, they will have to hope that Gareth Barry will have a quiet game. The English holding midfielder has been in scintillating form this season, and in my opinion is one of the most under rated players in the league currently. Barry is set to make his 450th Premier League appearance against the club who attempted to sign him in 2008.

However, I am hoping that we are too strong for the Merseyside outfit, and the fact that we are on home turf is a massive boost for us and with City averaging three goals per match at the Etihad Stadium this season, you get the feeling that Liverpool will have conceded more than two goals in seven games after tomorrow's encounter. This is the Premier League though, and as we have seen in the last few days, anything is possible!

No comments:

Post a Comment