Liverpool, Man City show they can ‘park the bus’ to get a good result

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When is “parking the bus” actually a disciplined, well-executed plan to nullify an opposing team’s biggest strength in the pursuit of a positive result? Currently, when the team is not managed by Jose Mourinho. But in fairness to the beleaguered Manchester United manager, he would have approved of the defensive performances of Liverpool and Manchester City during Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Anfield.

The previously unstoppable Liverpool registered just two efforts on target, with City mustering the same. There was none of the champagne football of recent encounters, no stunning passages of play, no moments of magic from Mohamed Salah or David Silva. Yet it was an absorbing game and one that ended with both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola proving that they can organise a back four as well as a front three.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

It has become something of an insult in the modern game to accuse a team of “parking the bus” when they emerge with their goal unbreached and intact. But sometimes it is simply a failure — or reluctance — to acknowledge the part of the game that is crucial for any team with aspirations of winning major honours.6

On this occasion the two defences came out on top, but is that a bad thing? After all it cannot, and should not, always be about the forwards.

Mourinho has been roundly criticised in the past two seasons after his United team emerged from Anfield with successive 0-0 draws. But when a team plays against Liverpool, especially away from home, they simply cannot go into the game without some kind of plan to stop the likes of Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane from wreaking havoc.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Mourinho has strangled the life out of games at Anfield more than once and been condemned for it, but Guardiola now appears to have taken a leaf out of the United manager’s book by accepting that tactics need to be altered for games like these.

Last season, City conceded seven goals in two games against Liverpool at Anfield in the league and Champions League; something had to change and there was a distinct difference to the way his team approached this fixture. Guardiola deployed the pace and height of John Stones and Aymeric Laporte at centre-back: last season, the less mobile and imposing Nicolas Otamendi played in both away games and was swamped by Liverpool’s front three. (Laporte also played at left-back in the 3-0 Champions League defeat and was a fish out of water on that demoralising evening.)