Analysing Sergio Aguero's influential performance for Manchester City against Liverpool
Sergio Aguero was excellent and returned to scoring ways as Manchester City dominated Liverpool on Saturday. Pep Guardiola has been keen to start the Argentine alongside Gabriel Jesus and this weekend was the first time when it clicked between the two. For a partnership to be successful, it is important that they put the team before their individual needs and they did that against one of their top-six rivals. Although it was helped by their opposition going down to ten men, the City attack was superb and the two strikers were central to that.
The Argentine international has learned to adjust his game to suit Guardiola and that was evident against Liverpool. He didn’t try to get involved all the time and he worked hard when the away side had possession. This was more obvious before the Reds had a player sent off, but there were encouraging signs that suggested the 29-year-old still has a big future at the Etihad Stadium.
It was Aguero that scored the opening goal with a smart finish that we have come to expect from him when a chance comes his way. However, it was his unselfishness that was more impressive for the third goal. He was released on goal and had a clear opportunity to shoot, but he opted to pass to his strike partner. There have been some that have criticised him for not taking the shot, but he Jesus was in a better position. Guardiola will have been pleased with this decision-making from the striker.
The most interesting stat to emerge from his performance was his pass accuracy. He ended the game with a pass completion of 100% and that is impressive as he can be lazy in possession. In this system, he is given license to stay in advanced positions and doesn’t have to get involved in the build-up play.
There are few better players in the final third and if City can play a system that gets Aguero to stay as advanced as possible, they will benefit. He made three key passes and was a constant threat throughout the match. The striker knows the positions to take up and he thrived in the extra space that was afforded to him after the red card.
The last 12 months have been a learning curve for Aguero. It hasn’t been easy for him to adjust to Guardiola’s methods as he is expected to do more for the team. This system plays to his strengths and that was evident on Saturday. There was less for him to do in the build-up play and he managed to contribute directly to two goals. If he continues to perform like this, he is going to re-emerge as one of the best players in the league.
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