Kevin De Bruyne v James Milner
If you watch the tape of Liverpool’s recent games their biggest weakness is glaringly obvious. Opposing teams have been able to exploit the gap between James Milner and the left-sided center back all year. This is not all Milner’s fault. He is a midfielder in a makeshift left back role but his tendency is to stay a little wider as he has played much of his career as winger. This has not been so much of an issue when Lovren has played but when Klavan or Lucas are next to him it becomes Liverpool’s greatest liability.
Leicester City targeted this weakness to great effect a few weeks ago. Jamie Vardy ran into that channel all evening long. Liverpool has no answer to it. Burnley had success there too with Andre Gray taking the same approach and setting up Ashley Barnes for his goal.
In the second half of the season Pep Guardiola has been using De Bruyne more in central areas with Silva. It has been Leroy Sane out wide left with Raheem Sterling on the right side. Sterling had a poor game mid-week and I expect Guardiola to shift De Bruyne back out to the right side where he had more success earlier in the season. He is City’s best player in wide areas and Liverpool’s left-sided gap will be there again to exploit on City’s big pitch and Aguero keeping the center backs occupied.