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Firmino starred in Klopp's pressing game

Tactics Board

Sterling not the key in City vs. Liverpool

50-50 Challenge
 By Nick Miller

In Juventus, Man City face a test of their Champions League credentials

Manuel Pellegrini's side face a stern test on Wednesday.

TURIN, Italy -- For Manchester City, the Champions League hasn't quite so much been the one that has got away in recent years, but rather the one that they have barely come close to catching. For a club with their talents and resources, to have never progressed past the Round of 16 is at best disappointing and, at worst, rather embarrassing.

City are already through to the knockout round of this season's competition, but even after qualifying with two games to spare, they have still yet to fully...

 By Michael Cox

Manchester United's style better suited for Champions League

With January's transfer window fast approaching, ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes and Shaka Hislop assess the latest round of rumours.

Whatever Louis van Gaal achieves in the rest of his career, his defining moment will always be what he achieved with Ajax 20 years ago: lifting the Champions League trophy with a young, exciting harmonious side. It seems unthinkable that a Dutch team could lift Europe's major prize these days; it only makes that side even more special, even more magical.

Van Gaal is one of the most stubborn, dogmatic coaches around -- and the rest of his coaching career has essentially been about using his Ajax...

 By Simon Curtis

Manuel Pellegrini and Manchester City insistent on doing things the hard way

The ESPN FC crew debate whether or not Manchester City are still favourites to win the EPL after their loss to Liverpool.

Manuel Pellegrini travels to Italy this week with the sound of a thousand and one complaints ringing in his ears.

His team selection at the weekend, and the performance of those he chose to play, left so much to be desired that the Chilean will have had no doubt whatsoever what is needed in Turin on Wednesday night. Having seemingly rested two players who could have helped avoid the debacle against Liverpool, he has inadvertently cranked up the pressure on his side to emerge unscathed from the...

 By Kevin Palmer

Arsenal's Champions League hopes in balance while Man United not clear yet

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal can still qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

The Champions League group stage returns this week with plenty to play for in the penultimate round of matches.

Arsenal hopes hang by a thread

Arsenal face more injury woe following news that Francis Coquelin has been ruled out for a minimum of two months. He joins Danny Welbeck, Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere on the treatment table, with Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all suffering problems this season as well.

"I am concerned about the injuries, of course," said Wenger,...

Man City and Arsenal's failures grab headlines despite Barca's Clasico romp

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol believes Man City's performance in their loss against Liverpool was the worst he has seen from them.
ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti delves into Liverpool's dominating performance against Manchester City.

I struggle with the international break. My mustache twitches randomly. I scream at people with small dogs. I don't sleep. I don't eat. I don't even drink before noon. Mostly, I just count the Arsenal players out injured until the Premier League returns in all its glorious misery.

So you can imagine my horror when I bum-rushed my local pub on Saturday for a long overdue smorgasbord of pivotal Prem encounters with an extra helping of El Clasico, only to realize that the league's top two teams entering...

Roberto Firmino starred in Jurgen Klopp's pressing game at Man City

Liverpool stunned Manchester City as Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino powered Liverpool to a 4-1 win.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says Coutinho and Firmino's absence from international duty was a big help to Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp once described counter-pressing as the best playmaker there is in football, and that principle proved its credibility in Liverpool's 4-1 drubbing of Manchester City at the Etihad on Saturday. The Reds pressed from the off and were 3-0 up after 33 minutes that, for City's part, must go down as one of the most error-strewn spells of play in the Premier League this season. If anything, the hosts were lucky to only be 3-1 down at half-time, having shown a bewildering lack of concentration.