Monday 21 October 2019

Fernandinho brands Liverpool a ‘long-ball’ team as Manchester City look to overturn three-goal lead

Manchester City's Fernandinho
Manchester City's Fernandinho

Jack Austin

Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho has labelled Liverpool a “long-ball” team ahead of the two sides’ Champions League second leg at the Etihad on Tuesday.

Liverpool head into the game with a 3-0 lead after blowing away the Premier League champions-elect at Anfield last week, as Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane all scored.

It was the second time Jurgen Klopp’s side has got the better of Pep Guardiola’s this season, winning 4-3 at Anfield in January to end their unbeaten start to the season.

City did hammer Liverpool in the pair’s first meeting of the season, the 5-0 victory in September coming after Mane’s red card and Fernandinho began in mind games on Monday ahead of an improbable comeback.

“They are a team that like to play long balls,” he said. “They try to keep the players around the middle.

“I hope we can solve all the problems we had, especially in the first half, in 10-15 minutes we conceded three goals. Then we can apply our type of game.”

Defeat to Manchester United in the derby on Saturday saw City lose back-to-back games for the first time this season, with their dominant campaign now in danger of ending rather flatly.

“It was a tough week for us, two defeats in a week but that's in the past already,” he added. “Our focus is on the second leg against Liverpool and the only way to play good football is to be positive.

“Now's the time for experienced players to take over and take charge. Of course we know two defeats are not easy but that happens to the best teams in the world.

“What we have done this season is amazing and we have a chance to go through in the Champions League. It won't be easy.

“They (Liverpool) are a team who fight for the ball and try to keep the players in the middle but we will be ready for tomorrow's game.”

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