The good, the bad and the five sub-rules – Debating Man City 1-1 Liverpool v Liverpool FC
The Reds have taken a leading approach to their title clash at the Etihad, with Klopp fielding the four of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota and Mohamed salah, and it took Guardiola by surprise.
Mane was shot down by Kyle Walker to allow Salah to convert the opener from the penalty spot, but Firmino and Jota’s missed opportunities saw City battling in the game.
Gabriel Jesus equalized and another controversial handball decision saw Joe gomez penalized and, fortunately, Kevin De Bruyne misses the point, the two teams remaining to be satisfied with a point.
This means Liverpool remain five ahead of City, who still have one game in hand, and one behind league leaders Leicester, who just happen to be next after the international break.
But what can we learn from this Manchester usury affair?
JACK: The bright spot for me was the game plan and, for a big part of the game at least, the way it was executed.
The way we got out of the blocks and brought the game to City on their own ground showed the confidence we now have against, supposedly, our biggest rivals in the title.
Basically, fielding a four-man attack was bold, but it paid off, and we really should have gotten more chances before the game got stale with tired legs and Guardiola tactically caught up.
I’d love to see him more in the future, especially with Henderson and Wijnaldum in such strong form in midfield, allowing us to keep in shape while Mane, Salah and Jota in particular work their magic on attack.
MAST: For me, one of the biggest pluses has been the use of the first four.
It makes us a lot less predictable, which Pepijn Lijnders recognized was necessary after winning the title last season.
The addition of Thiago will make 4-2-3-1 an even better option, and as Klopp noted after the game: “Usually people know what system we’re playing, now it’s water under the bridge.”
HENRI: First of all, it’s a decent result. It’s so important not to lose a game to City every season, that is their six-point nature in the title race.
In terms of individuals, I thought Gomez and Matip were excellent, especially since it was their very first start as a pair of center-backs.
They both remained focused and reliable throughout – Gomez, in particular, really held up without Van Dijk.
Alisson was excellent at his decision-making – his level of importance to this team is not too far behind that of Van Dijk – while Robertson, Henderson, Salah and Mane were all good too.
There is clearly not enough confidence in Neco as a backup yet, otherwise he would have stepped in at some point by now, and although Milner is a capable substitute, the quality Trent has shown in both defense and attack these last few weeks means it would be a big loss.
Fingers crossed, basically, because he’s one of our most important players – and we’ve lost too many already.
MAST: Trent’s injury has unfortunately been one of the most predictable things this season. He has played far too much football for a 22-year-old.
Klopp has said after signing Tsimikas that he will turn his full-backs a lot more this season, but so far that has not happened.
Perhaps he has since revised his opinion on Neco and the youngster is not considered quite ready now.
HENRI: Another game, more VAR madness. How you can give a handball for this against Gomez is beyond me, but I guess it’s the right decision by the rules, which are nonsense.
It was frustrating to see Liverpool lose their way in an offensive sense, with the last ball off target too often, and possession lost cheaply with long scoreless balls.
It was a grueling contest, so I’ll give them a little slack
I thought Firmino was nowhere near the beat again, which was worrying. This touch a little heavy in the first minute, when he could have bypassed Ederson, sums it up for the moment.
There were just too many hopeful shots, misplaced passes and, more worryingly, not the same energy from our No.9 ball.
Wijnaldum didn’t have a good day either, losing cheap possession at one point, finding himself out of position for Jesus’ goal and generally not looking accomplished.
The two-way midfielder didn’t help in that regard.
And do you agree with Klopp that we need five subs this season?
JACK: Absolutely. I was on the fence when the discussion was going on before the season, but something has to give and it clearly won’t be the fixture list.
The proof is there in the muscle injuries for Trent and Fabinho already, and at this point, it looks like a game of Russian roulette when it comes to the next one to be sidelined.
It would be a miracle if Robbo, Salah, Gomez, Gini and Mane avoided any setbacks in the weeks to come.
Being able to spin from the start, with the ability to make other changes throughout the game, would at least give players and managers some piece of mind as we move towards an even more ridiculous schedule over Christmas and the New Year.
MAST: It is laughable that it was not voted on. Talk about lower clubs that shoot themselves in the foot.
They don’t have the same issues as teams like us who are in Europe right now, but wait until December and January and I’m sure they will change their tone.
the premier league sums up England as a nation – they think they know better than the rest of the world, when the reality is, they don’t.
Insert your own Brexit analogy here.
HENRI: It is no coincidence that Liverpool have experienced such a nightmare in the injury department before and you fear more will come over the weeks and months.
Introducing the Five-Penny Rule would at least help alleviate this problem, ensuring players get more rest and aren’t running empty by spring. Euros could be laughable at this price!
I’ve seen some claim that Klopp doesn’t even do three submarines sometimes, let alone five, but that can’t be used as a stick to beat him.
You never know when a late injury may occur, for example, so it would be unwise to use all submarines too early.
I hope the premier league change the rules ASAP, admittedly only for this season before things (hopefully) get back to normal in 2021/22.