BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand believes Liverpool should not have pushed so high up the pitch on occasions during the first half against Manchester City.
The Reds’ defence was exposed repeatedly before half-time at the Etihad, and Ferdinand feels that the decision to not drop back deeper when they weren’t pressing the ball could have led to them losing the game:
“Klopp said it after the game, in so many words, when there is time on the ball, then maybe you do need to drop a little bit. And don’t be so brave. That’s a fact. You can say it’s brave. The way that they played the nerve that they had. I understand that. To do that is borderline suicidal, at times. It could have been two, three, or 4-0 in the first half because of that reason of holding your line and playing a high line.”
Liverpool’s high line is often criticised and Ferdinand does have a point. If you are giving quality players time to pick out a pass, they will punish you, especially if you are offering them space in behind to put the ball into.
Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk had to put out too many fires in the opening 45 minutes but, luckily, the Reds got to the interval at only 2-1 down so that they could regroup. They improved markedly in the second half, with the pressing and high line working as intended and Jurgen Klopp’s side would have been glad to have come away with a point.