Attackers don’t matter. In fact, you might even be better off without them. At least that seemed to be one of the lessons of Manchester City and Liverpool’s recent dominance in the Premier League.

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There are now many differences between how the two best teams in England – and perhaps the world – have come to dominate the pitch. Liverpool never stop running; The city reasserted itself, running less. Liverpool turned their full-backs into attacking midfielders; The whole City team is attacking the midfielders. Liverpool will blow you off the pitch like the weather; The city systematically takes you apart at almost the molecular level.

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However, the teams of Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp had one thing they both shared. not Yes: Center forward. Man City have scored 99 goals and Liverpool have scored 94 – sixth and ninth in league history – without a player playing the role that historically provides most of those goals. Considering how dominant both sides have been, as arguably the two best Premier League teams of all time, it has become really hard to argue that they have overcome the lack of a definitive classic player profile. Rather, it was rather the opposite: Manchester City and Liverpool were so good. because they didn’t play with attackers.

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Then the season ended and the two clubs almost immediately spent more than $140 million to sign a pair of big, powerful centre-forwards Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund and Darwin Nunez from Benfica. So what’s going on? While both clubs were at the forefront of one tactical trend, they may have been preparing for the next.