An emotionally charged rendition of ‘La Marseillaise’ set the scene for an International friendly fixture between France and England on Tuesday night. Both sets of players and supporters sang the French national anthem as the Wembley arch was lit up in bright red, white and blue.
This show of solidarity, for the unspeakable atrocities in Paris, then materialised into a half-decent game of football that the home side won 2-0.
England fielded their youngest team for over half a century and were the better side throughout. The Tottenham trio of Eric Dier, Harry Kane and Dele Alli were impressive, with the latter scoring on his full debut with a spectacularly composed shot from distance.
Perhaps this might point the way for Roy Hodgson; building a national team based on players who play regularly together at club level will surely give England a better chance of performing in a cohesive way at major tournaments.
Premier League football returns this weekend and Manchester City v Liverpool is the stand-out fixture. If their previous six meetings is anything to go by (23 goals scored in total), this match will be an entertaining one. Liverpool’s 3-2 win at Anfield in April 2014 was one of the most exciting, end-to-end encounters in recent memory.
Manchester City can look vulnerable defensively when a visiting team is brave enough to attack them from the first whistle, as a plucky Norwich City did before succumbing to a 2-1 defeat on Halloween. The high-pressing tactics of new Liverpool Boss, Jürgen Klopp, may also unsettle City if he chooses to deploy them this coming Saturday evening.
It is an interesting dilemma for Klopp, of course, he wants to bounce back from the 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace (where some Liverpool fans bemused the German by leaving the ground with 10 minutes remaining) so, maybe favouring a slower counter-attacking approach, like he did in the 3-1 away win at Chelsea, would be more sensible. However, a higher intensity style of play against The Citizens could grab The Mighty Reds all three points.
Manuel Pellegrini will set his team out to attack as he always does so ‘Both Teams to Score – Yes’ seems a safe bet no matter what approach Klopp employs – 1.8 Euro odds or 4/5 UK.
The Champions are looking formidable at the City of Manchester Stadium but I fancy Liverpool to get something out of the game – Double Chance Liverpool is 2.25 Euro odds or 5/4 UK.
At the very least Jurgen Klopp will not be feeling lonely on the touchline, as Liverpool’s vociferous and passionate away supporters are unlikely to leave this one early.