Anyone who thinks that Liverpool already have a leg in the UEFA Champions League semi-final because of that 3-0 first leg win does not know football. This tie will effectively be over when Liverpool score at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
And to back that up, Virgil van Dijk said at the pre-match press conference on Monday, “Defending a 3-0 lead here is going to be a bit of a strange situation. We need to come here with the mindset that it is still 0-0. We want to win the game. We know we are capable of scoring.”
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Manchester City are hurting and will be sure to come out all guns blazing at Liverpool hoping to score an early goal that would galvanise the supporters and the team.
Jurgen Klopp says he is looking to a “real football game”. “It’s all about being stable in the game, still being brave, being lively, being high energetic, trying to cause them as many problems as possible.”
Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola has reaffirmed his belief in how his team plays.
“What happened at Anfield will not change my mind about what we do as a team – there are always things to improve. And what happened on Saturday will not change my opinion about the season. My team played an extraordinary game.”
Last week at Anfield, Guardiola’s team did not fashion any shot on target but the City manager says Tuesday is another match.
“Every time we play against Liverpool, we know each other. We have to play better to beat them; you cannot forget it’s a simple game. We have to focus on what we do. If we concede a goal, don’t give up.
“And if we are not clinical, okay, next one, next one, next one.” This is coming after City fluffed numerous chances against Manchester United on Saturday and let United off the hook after leading by two goals in the first half.
“I don’t think we have to talk too much about motivation. The way they played all season showed what they want to do. My team is extraordinary, my team is not comparable with many others, it is top.”
Fernandinho added that they would be ready to deal with Liverpool’s ‘long ball tactics’ – whatever he meant by that. “They’re a team who like to play long balls, fighting for the balls, they try to keep players around the midfield but we’re going to be ready for tomorrow. In the first half of 10-15 minutes we conceded the goals but hopefully, we can apply our kind of game tomorrow.”
But Van Dijk has urged his mates to repeat the first half at Anfield. “We need to stay calm. We need to be 100 per cent and do the same thing we did in the first half against them. If we do that it’s going to be a difficult night for them as well.”
Current Form: Man. City [L-L-W-W-L]; Liverpool [W-D-W-W-L-D]
Head to head
03/04/18 UCL Liverpool 3 – 0 Man. City
14/01/18 PRL Liverpool 4 – 3 Man. City
09/09/17 PRL Man. City 5 – 0 Liverpool
19/03/17 PRL Man. City 1 – 1 Liverpool
31/12/16 PRL Liverpool 1 – 0 Man. City
Words before the war
“If we concede, don’t give up. We did it many times – we can create chances in a short period. After, you have to be clinical there but even if we’re not clinical, move on and the next one.” – Pep Guardiola, Manchester City Manager
“There is no perfect football team in the world. You have moments, you have situations, you have days, sometimes only minutes but they had it most consistently, that’s why they are league champions. I knew before they can concede goals and if you concede goals, you can lose.” – Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool Manager
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