After a thrilling opening encounter, Liverpool started the season on a high. A win against Arsenal away from home. It is just their second win in over two decades against Arsenal. Their fluidity going forward will make them a threat against any team. However, their defence looks frail and would likely be their undoing this season. At 4-1 up it was likely to be game set match. A quick two goals from Arsenal meant Liverpool had to remain vigilant right to the final whistle. During the second game against Burnley, despite dominating the game, Liverpool conceded two goals from the underdog team to crash to a defeat. While both shots from Burnley were devastating strikes, Liverpool could have easily done more to try and prevent them from going in.
During the transfer window, the Liverpool defence has undergone quite a few changes. Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan have joined the team. Martin Skertel, Kolo Toure, Jose Enrique, Brad Smith and Jon Flannagan (loan) have left. Sakho and Gomez are still few weeks away from returning, keeping the defence a bit short for the time being.
The biggest issue for now, is not the form of the players but the preferred back 4. Apart from Nathaniel Clyne, no other player may have cemented his spot in the Liverpool defence. Alberto Monero had a disastrous outing against Arsenal. Not only did he end up conceding a penalty, his shambolic defending nearly allowed the Gunners to score a 4th goal, as a result making the team work till the final whistle.
Klavan has been solid during the pre-season and has had two solid performances in the season. This should at least intensify the competition for the central defence pairing for Liverpool, once Joe Gomez and Sakho return from injury. The weak link of the Liverpool defence is at left back. Alberto Monero can be a reliable defender and threat going forward. However, his poor defensive performances can be a matter of trouble for his team. Joe Gomez might add competition here, once he returns from injury as he is a versatile defender.
Is the situation hopeless for Liverpool or do they need reinforcements for their defence? No. With 10 players and more than two players at each position, there is sufficient depth. It’s just a matter of finding the right defensive partnership and in form players. He has to tame the behavior of some players as some of them put in rash challenges. The match against Arsenal being an example of rash challenges by more than one defender. If Liverpool are unable to address their defensive shortcomings, it could be their undoing over the course of the season.
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