Sign up for the free World Soccer Talk daily email newsletter for TV schedules, news and more »

SAT, 7:45AM ET
MCFC3
CPFC0
SAT, 9:30AM ET
WER2
BVB1
SAT, 10AM ET
AVFC1
MUFC1
SAT, 10AM ET
BAR5
COR0
SAT, 10AM ET
TOT2
BUR1
SAT, 10AM ET
SOU3
EVE0

Manchester City-Liverpool Game Provides Chelsea With Important Lessons of How to Defend Against Luis Suarez

luis suarez Manchester City Liverpool Game Provides Chelsea With Important Lessons of How to Defend Against Luis Suarez

Manchester City defeated Liverpool 2-1 on Boxing Day in a match shrouded in controversy. Much like the League Cup semi-final second leg in 2012 where Liverpool emerged the victors in a controversially referred match between these two clubs, much of the post-match discussion has focused on decisions of the officials’ crew.

But what was a more interesting takeaway from the evening was the ability of Liverpool to use Manchester City’s obsession with marking Luis Suarez to find acres of space for the likes of Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling.

On multiple occasions during the match, Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany tracked Suarez while Joleon Lescott, the left-centre back, failed to slide into the space vacated by Kompany. This gave Coutinho and Sterling multiple opportunities to score goals and punish the Blues defensive ill-discipline.

Chelsea prepares for the visit of Suarez and Liverpool coming off two clean sheets in succession. Jose Mourinho, whose defensive mastery of tactics has proven once again to be a polarizing subject in England, must take notes.

A zonal marking system will likely be employed as a response by Mourinho but that could afford Suarez more space on the ball and potentially more shooting opportunities. Keeping Suarez in check may depend on Chelsea playing two deep lying marking midfielders. This will almost certainly negate any attacking contribution Frank Lampard for instance would typically make in the match of this magnitude.

Liverpool’s ability to create numerous scoring chances on the break against City, even while the opposition was obsessed with Suarez’s movement, showed how the Reds can break down any opposition in England. It was an impressive display and though the finishing touch eluded Sterling while the officials played their role in Liverpool’s defeat, the obvious takeaway is that Chelsea will be in for a dogfight on Sunday.

Considering that Mourinho has little confidence in his attacking central midfield play, he is likely to have his side sit deep again even at Stamford Bridge. By sitting deep, Chelsea can absorb pressure but cannot afford any lapses in concentration like what Lescott demonstrated on Boxing Day for Manchester City. Similar mistakes could result in an improbable draw or even a Blues loss on Sunday, which will be a blow to Mourinho’s hopes of a Premier League title.


This entry was posted in Leagues: EPL, Liverpool, Luis Suarez, Manchester City. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →