DANNY MURPHY: Pep Guardiola Gets On Perfectly With Manchester City’s New Man Jack Grealish
The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo in Manchester has put Jack Grealish in the spotlight, who would otherwise have come under more scrutiny as the Premier League’s first £100million player.
I’m sure it helped, but the biggest reason for his encouraging start at City is that Pep Guardiola picks him every week.
We know Pep likes rotation, especially with his forwards, but Grealish has started every Premier League and Champions League game so far in a position wide on the left that he knows and enjoys.
While Pep Guardiola likes to rotate, Jack Grealish has started all six Premier League games
The former Aston Villa man has mastered City’s left wing so far this season
It’s helped him gain confidence and find a rhythm right away, as we’ve seen other signings struggle to impress after they trickled into the lineup. Donny van de Beek at Manchester United is a clear example.
Guardiola threw Grealish in the deep end and stayed with him. The player knows whether he has a bad moment or a bad game, it does not mean the axe. That is very important for an asset that wants to quickly impress teammates and fans.
Imagine if Grealish hadn’t played in games before the 0-0 draw with Southampton and then played in them.
He may be to blame. But his contribution to wins against Norwich, Arsenal and Leicester put no additional pressure. Guardiola re-selected him at Chelsea and he was excellent.
Grealish has got off to a flying start for City since his £100m club record move from Villa
The 26-year-old scored two goals and set up two more in eight games across all competitions
He was substituted for PSG mid-week, one of those nights where he failed, but there has been no major investigation or suggestion that he won’t play against Liverpool.
We also have to appreciate the player’s mentality. Coming from Aston Villa, he had the courage and courage to fit into one of the best teams in the world.
Guardiola doesn’t seem to have his best front three yet, with Raheem Sterling no longer the go-to man.
But Grealish has been chosen every time so far. With Trent Alexander-Arnold injured, I suspect Jurgen Klopp could play Joe Gomez for James Milner as a right-back to fight Grealish.
NO HURRY FOR HARRY
If Spurs lower their asking price for Harry Kane in January, Manchester City would be interested. But I don’t think Pep Guardiola will pressure his club to break the bank for the England captain.
He finds another way. Guardiola’s preference for playing a false nine that sinks deep and connects the game may keep City from scoring as many goals, but it does allow them to control matches.
A number 9 staying high on the pitch might have prevented City’s blanks against Leicester, Spurs, Southampton and PSG, but the team would lose in other ways.
City wanted to sign Harry Kane in the summer, but the England captain stayed with Spurs
Kane is the only striker who I think could fit into City’s style because of his technical skills. But I feel that Guardiola has moved on, because he hadn’t signed him in the summer.
He turns up. Ferran Torres has done well, but I’ve seen him play for Spain and I think his best position is wide and using his pace to make crosses.
Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva and Grealish lack the pace to chase defenders, although Foden’s performance at Stamford Bridge last week should give him the nod against Liverpool.
Sterling does have speed, but it’s less natural for him to play that role, especially against the best center halves.
Kane, along with Erling Haaland, is one of the world-class strikers on Pep Guardiola’s radar
I think the best solution for Guardiola is to play Gabriel Jesus in the middle.
The Brazilian has done well on the right, but we saw from his winner against Chelsea that he is more comfortable finding space within the penalty area than anyone else at City.
So I don’t think it’s a matter of having to splash £150m in January or suffer a disaster.
KNOPP IS STRONGER
Klopp’s Liverpool side are stronger than when they won the Premier League title. At that point, there was a big drop-off between Jurgen Klopp’s first XI and the rest.
Klopp was fortunate that his famous front three of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino rarely needed a break in 2019-20.
But now he has Diogo Jota, an extra option that does not weaken the team.
Murphy believes Jurgen Klopp has a better squad now than when Liverpool won the league
Jota is one such target threat and can play in any of the three forward positions.
Gini Wijnaldum has left the title-winning side, but the confidants – Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Fabinho – are still there.
Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott have both played well enough to earn first team matches and Thiago Alcantara has added a new dimension.
Diogo Jota bolsters Liverpool’s attacking options after Wolves . arrival
Curtis Jones (left) has proven himself worthy of a Liverpool starting spot this season
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita are also hopefully over their injury problems.
On defense, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson no longer have to turn upside down in every game.
Konstantinos Tsimikas seemed like a worthy alternative to Robertson and the signing of Ibrahima Konate means Joe Gomez can switch to right-back if Alexander-Arnold is injured.
THE CITY MAY BUY IT!
I used to be cynical when it was suggested that the audience could have a significant influence on how players performed.
Then I played for Liverpool against Roma on the night Gerard Houllier returned from heart surgery and realized the difference supporters can make.
Murphy expects Anfield to be at its best for Manchester City’s visit
City won 4-1 at Anfield last season, but the game was played behind closed doors
The emotion that comes with the farewell to the legendary Roger Hunt at Anfield today will no doubt be a factor against City.
My coaches Ronnie Moran and Ronnie Evans always talked about great players from the past, including Roger.
It brought a sense of responsibility to the one who put on a red shirt. The city might be surprised by the passion.