Three Things We Learned From City’s Win Over Liverpool

9 Aug

This is a guest post from Alex Dudley.

Manchester City kick-started their season which they hope will end with a record-equalling third Premier League title on the bounce with a Community Shield victory over last season’s runners-up Liverpool at Wembley. Raheem Sterling had put City ahead before a late Joel Matip header sent the game to penalties.

City were the outright favourites to win the game, and those punters that took advantage of the Coral promo code would have maximised their returns. It was the perfect way to start the new season, but there will be certain elements that Pep Guardiola will be looking to improve on ahead of the opening day clash with West Ham United, which again the Citizens go into as the favourites.

Guardiola’s side are the heavily backed short-priced favourites to win the Premier League again this season, but will there be any points that he would have found from the curtain-raiser to the new season?

Leroy Sane Fitness Concern

The first half was near-perfect for City, but an injury to Leroy Sane did threaten to take the gloss off the performance. The German was substituted with a nasty looking knee injury early in the game, but Guardiola was keen to express that the knock wasn’t as bad as they first feared and he could feature against the Hammers. Sane has also been subject to relentless interest from Bayern Munich throughout the season, but City fans will be hopefuls that he remains with the club for the coming season.

De Bruyne Back To His Best

The brightest spark for City was a welcome return to full fitness for Kevin De Bruyne. The Belgium midfielder endured a different campaign in 2018-19 as he was limited to just 19 Premier League appearances last season. His return to fitness is the best news that City could hope for, and his prolonged fitness would be an undeniable advantage to the Citizens over their nearest rivals. He was sharp throughout as he made his trademark runs around the back of the full-backs, and his crossing into the box was of the highest quality. The signs for the season ahead are promising with a fully fit playmaker back to his best.

Guardiola Evolution

Pep Guardiola continues to evolve as the seasons go by, and that is what makes him one of the best managers on the planet. The rule change from the goal kicks just highlights this. The shape of City with Nicolas Otamendi in the box to pick up the ball along with the full-backs being high and wide, and John Stones being on the edge of the box as the pivot made it almost impossible for Liverpool to press. Rodri’s position enabled a quick passing option for Stones, while the long ball to the full-backs was always on if they needed it. It was a revolutionary bit of tactical play and something that Liverpool fell victim to throughout the game as they were exposed with the long ball over the top.

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