Why Rodgers should learn from Mourinho

Liverpool face Manchester City on Boxing Day, but an open game could lead to a slaughter. Perhaps The Reds' manager Brendan Rodgers should take a leaf out of Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho's book...

Just think how Mourinho has reached the pinnacle of football management. There are many reasons, of course, but a key reason is his record in the big games. And there's been plenty of evidence of that so far this season, with his Chelsea side beating Manchester City at home and drawing with Arsenal and Manchester United away.

And in those away games, the Portuguese boss has quite clearly played for the draw, something which Mourinho's old pupil Brendan Rodgers might do well to copy on Boxing Day, when his top-of-the-table Liverpool side take on title favourites Manchester City at the Etihad.

Manchester City, of course, can boast a 100% home record this Premier League season - scoring 35 goals and conceding just five in eight games. The odds of success if Liverpool were to play their typically expansive game, then, would not seem to be high.

Instead, Rodgers should take a leaf out of Mourinho's book and, quite simply, play for the draw.

Of course, Manchester City's weakness generally tends to be defensive - and the form of Luis Suarez means that Liverpool can most definitely trouble Joe Hart and Vincent Kompany. But to go all out attack would be irresponsible. Liverpool managed to draw twice with Manchester City last season and another draw this time around could keep them in the top two.

In my view, Liverpool's usual system must be put on hold and the Reds must adopt a reactive formation. Jordan Henderson will need to drop deep and track the runs of Yaya Toure, while Lucas Leiva will have to sit and mark David Silva tightly throughout the 90 minutes.

Whatever happens, though, Rodgers cannot afford to take the game to Manchester City. Their speed on the counter and sheer attacking prowess means Liverpool's priority must be to keep things tight at the back.

A win would be thrilling - but to target it would be naive. For once, a draw in itself would be a huge statement of intent.

image: © banoootah_qtr

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