Liverpool’s own Erling Haaland could define Man City fixture after Lionel Messi praise

During the 2021/22 campaign, both Liverpool and Manchester City established themselves as trendsetters by succeeding without fielding designated strikers. Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola both used strikerless systems at their respective clubs, with Roberto Firmino serving as Merseyside’s main man.

The Brazilian international was the final number nine for the Reds, regularly dropping into deep areas as a means of helping his midfield teammates. Firmino’s withdrawn movements allowed Liverpool to gain a foothold in the middle of the park, with Guardiola using a number of players to create a similar balance at the Etihad Stadium.

At the time, Manchester City had no true false nine, leading to a number of players alternating in the role, from Phil Foden and Jack Grealish to Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva. Guardiola’s team won the Premier League this season with 93 points, while Liverpool finished second with 92 points.

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The next best team, England, scored only 74 points. Klopp and Guardiola proved to be on a different level than their peers, and in the summer that followed, they both made comparable moves in the transfer market, investing in similar strikers that would change the landscape for both sides.

Manchester City bought Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund. The Scandinavian is just 23 years old, but he already has a real reputation for being lethal in front of goal. The Norwegian international is physical, tall and fast on the field, and he is an expert at getting on the end of chances near the penalty spot.

Liverpool bought a comparable type of player, albeit a little rough around the edges. The Reds brought Darwin Nunez to Anfield at the time, with the South American having recently burst on the scene for Benfica in Portugal, and the 22-year-old starlet has scored a total of 26 goals in the Primeira Liga.

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