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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 →

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

  1. M Owen says:

    Jose employs “death by football” only in this case on the viwers watching the game…it soooo boring to watch chelsea.

    hope all the chelsea fans are happy with what they got.

  2. Southern FC says:

    I didn’t think City defended Suarez well at all. Although he didn’t score, Suarez was setting his teammates up left and right. Sterling was wrongly ruled offside and wouldve had a one on one with Hart due to Suarez pass. Suarez second half pass should’ve been finished by Sterling. And Suarez started the move which ended in Liverpool’s only goal.

  3. Aaron says:

    Kartik, if that’s the way to “defend” against Suarez Chelsea better mentally prepare themselves for a walloping, because Luis was brilliant as provider yesterday. He’s got five assists in thirteen matches and was pivotal in nearly every scoring opportunity against City. That’s not “stopping” him by a long stretch.

  4. christian says:

    Some of you clearly didn’t read the article or understand it.

    ‘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.’

    Kartik is telling you City did an awful job in defense and Mourinho can’t play Suarez the same way or they face an onslaught.

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