Premier League Logo
Talking Tactics

Maguire and Gomez showing all-round ability

Adrian Clarke 31 Aug 2018
Harry Maguire-Joe-Gomez composite

Adrian Clarke analyses two in-form English defenders who meet when Leicester City take on Liverpool in Matchweek 4

Adrian Clarke looks at tactical battles set to take place in Matchweek 4.

Leicester City v Liverpool 

When Leicester City and Liverpool meet at King Power Stadium on Saturday, two of England’s best young central defenders will be on show.

Taking his chance

Joe Gomez has excelled in three successive clean-sheet appearances for Liverpool.

Shifting across from full-back to partner Virgil van Dijk, the 21-year-old has grabbed his opportunity to shine as a central defender with both hands.

After producing composed displays against West Ham United and Crystal Palace, it was interesting to see Brighton & Hove Albion try to target the 188cm defender.  

Brighton striker Glenn Murray drifted on to Gomez as a target for aerial balls, rather than try his luck against the taller Van Dijk as the Seagulls tested him with a stream of lofted passes.

Gomez took part in 13 aerial duels, compared with Van Dijk’s four, and handled the challenge magnificently.

He won 61.5 per cent of them without conceding a single foul.

Same again for Harry

Harry Maguire’s 2018 FIFA World Cup form has continued for his club.

The Leicester centre-back has been terrific for Claude Puel’s side, and capped a fine start to 2018/19 with a wonderful long-range winning goal at Southampton.

Dominating the 18-yard box in all three appearances, Maguire has made 20 effective clearances; double that of his nearest team-mate, Daniel Amartey.

Maguire has kept his composure and discipline, committing only one foul in three matches, too.

Maguire v Gomez
2018/19 Maguire Gomez
Successful passes 134 209
Pass accuracy % 89.9 89.7
Aerial duels won % 54.5 45.0
Clearances 20 13
Tackles won 0 4
Interceptions 1 3
Fouls conceded 1 4
Top speed (km/h) 31.6 34.3

Gomez has a pace advantage over Maguire, but both defenders have enjoyed extremely positive starts to the new campaign.

They offer contrasting strengths, with Maguire comfortable on the left and Gomez happier on the right, so they are a pairing that may complement one another at international level. 

Quality passers

Each has a vital role to play in defensive situations, but their ability to select the right passes will also have an influence in Saturday’s match.

For Leicester, Maguire is ideally suited to Puel’s desire to play possession football.

He brings the ball out from the back with assurance, boasting 89.9 per cent pass accuracy.

He is not averse to playing a brave forward pass either. This is something Liverpool would be wise to try to stop.

Maguire’s accurate long diagonal passes to left-back Ben Chilwell have been a feature of the campaign so far.

He has picked Chilwell out most frequently in all three PL matches, and 37 times in total, setting up attacks down the left side.

Harry Maguire, Leicester

Gomez keeps his distribution simpler.

He passed to Van Dijk to his left 36 times against Brighton, with midfielders Georginio Wijnaldum, who received 14 passes, and James Milner, on the end of 11, all picked out with short, low-risk passes.

Joe Gomez, Liverpool

Gomez grew in confidence against the Seagulls, attempting more forward passes, including several vertical balls to the feet of Mohamed Salah.

Watch out for Gomez and Salah developing a better understanding in the weeks to come.

See: Compare Maguire and Gomez's 2018/19 form

Also in this series

Part 1: How Mendy changed Guardiola's game plan
Part 2: How Lucas has accelerated Spurs' rapid start
Part 4: Wide game can get Burnley their first win

Latest News

More News: Latest News

Latest Videos

More Videos: Latest Videos