Manchester United are getting ready for Sunday and the big clash against Liverpool. A short trip to Anfield is expected to be a tough one. Liverpool are not sitting on top of the table just because Manchester City have played their match this weekend. They have the best defence in the league and seem like the only potential rival to the current champions in quest for the title.
Jose Mourinho will need his players to be at the absolute best, especially after the match against Valencia and especially if they are to somehow return to Manchester with all three points.
So, let’s have a look at Liverpool this season and why everyone talks about them.
What Is Better Than Last Season?
Liverpool seem more composed this year than that was the case in the last campaign. They finished fourth in May, two spots behind Man United and despite their great Champions League run, there was always something missing in the league. That ‘something’ seems to be there now. Liverpool are much improved in defence and there are several factors for that.
If we start from goal, then we have to start with Alisson. The Brazilian is miles ahead of both Mignolet and Karius and that is a serious understatement. He offers great shot-stopping abilities, but is also very good with his feet. He did have one blunder this season, but now that looks miniature in comparison with all the good things he is bringing. With Alisson in goal, defenders also feel safer.
Then, about defence, Virgil Van Dijk is truly growing into one of the best centre-backs in the world and Joe Gomez at 21 is a bargain for 3.5 million Liverpool signed him for from Charlton. He is improving massively alongside the Dutchman, but also, there was a positive effect on Liverpool’s defence from how the team has slightly changed their play.
Less Pressing, More Efficiency
Everyone started to notice how Liverpool are evolving from what they were last season. Now they do not press as high up the pitch and not as much. That has led to the team consuming less energy, but more importantly being more firm at the back. The defence of, say, Lovren and Matip is no longer almost at the halfway line leaving the space behind, now the better players are in those positions, but also closer to their goal.
There is more security in the way they play and the attack has to be more efficient as there are not as many opportunities now. And that is what is happening. Liverpool have conceded just six goals this season and therefore they can afford to score less than last season. They had several close wins, but over a course of the season that makes them more dangerous. There no more 1-4s at Wembley and similar results.
Liverpool concede less dangerous chances compared to last season and more often play in 4-2-3-1 than usual. However, they are expected to start in 4-3-3 at Anfield on Sunday and Man United could do with adding a bit of chaos to this game, similarly to how they unsettled Chelsea.