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Published: 14:14 | 9/4/18

Guardiola to deploy new defensive plan


Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will deploy a new defensive plan for his side's Champions League quarter-final second-leg clash with Liverpool.

The two sides meet on Tuesday evening at The Etihad Stadium, a game which is live on the eir Sport pack [7.45pm kick-off], with Liverpool taking a 3-0 lead into the tie after the first leg at Anfield. That porous performance at the back was followed by a 3-2 defeat at home to Manchester City at the Etihad on Saturday as City failed to secure the Premier League title as their arch-rivals staged a stunning comeback from 2-0 behind.

The Spaniard revealed he planned to change his defensive plans, but didn't reveal whether under-fire centre-back Nicolas Otamendi would be dropped from his partnership with captain Vincent Kompany.

"Maybe, I have an idea what we have to do tomorrow, what the guys are going to do," Guardiola said at a pre-match news conference.

"But in the case of Nico, when a player does what he has done, all we can do is to be close to him because Nico is not just a huge quality but a huge mentality.

"It's true the third goal he has to defend his back, but we are here in the quarter-finals and 13 points in front in the Premier League and Nico is an important reason why."

One possibility is that John Stones could be brought into the side to steady City at the back as the centre-back continues his comeback after an adductor injury.

"After he had an injury in the national team [in November] when it was six, eight weeks off and after coming back he had little problems with the confidence," said Guardiola.

"In the last game with the national team he had a concussion and he could not play in Everton, he was seven days without a training session, and before United he felt something in his adductor.

"He was not perfect and I decided not to take a risk. He knows the confidence I have in him, especially in the last years. He has to fight with these guys to prove why he should play."

Guardiola also noted that City will have to come out all guns blazing in attack in order to claw back Liverpool's 3-0 lead.

"We have to attack, to try to build the counter-attacks. We have 90 minutes and extra time and we showed we could create a lot of chances in few, few, few minutes and the opponents know that.

"We are going to see that it is a good test. Football, like life, is a challenge and we're happy to handle it. The result is tough but everything can happen." 

Manchester City host Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium in the Champions League quarter-final second leg on Tuesday 10 April, live on BT Sport 2 on the eir Sport pack [kick-off 7.45pm].

Image: Getty Images/ Shaun Botterill

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