Liverpool started the new Premier League season in dream fashion with victory over Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
The Merseysiders were at their attacking best in a seven-goal thriller on Sunday afternoon, but they still conceded three goals which made the final stages nerve-wracking.
It’s clear manager Jurgen Klopp is finally starting to make Liverpool a devastating side going forward, but their defensive frailties remain and have not been address. Could it cost the Reds silverware this season?
Liverpool’s porous defence a perennial problem
While the opening day result in a new season can fluctuate as a result of so much change over the summer, Liverpool’s defence have been a problem for some time. The Merseysiders conceded 50 goals in the Premier League last season – their joint-worst record – and have already started the new campaign poorly.
Under Jurgen Klopp last season, Liverpool kept just eight clean sheets from 29 Premier League games, conceding a staggering 40 goals for their troubles. In the last three seasons, the Merseysiders have conceded 48 goals or more in the Premier League, and to ship three goals in their opening game against a disjointed Arsenal side does suggest a lot of work still needs to be done.
Existing personnel needs replacing
One major problem of Liverpool defence is that they’ve still retained many of the weak components of last season. Left-back Alberto Moreno was considered a real liability at the back in 2015/16, but no replacement is yet to have been brought in by Liverpool. Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet looked to be finally challenged for the number one jersey after years of inconsistency at Liverpool, but summer-signing Loris Karius picked up an injury which has seen him sidelined.
Jurgen Klopp has signed two central defenders this summer in Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan, but it’s unknown who will be a regular in the backline this early into the season. As of yet, three of the last season’s back four have kept their place, and the goalkeeper has been unchanged too. Ahead of the defence is where problems lie also. There’s little protection as there’s no natural holding midfielder.
Jordan Henderson was given the responsibility to shield the backline, but he was at times isolated with the attacking Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum alongside him so Klopp needs to find the right balance. Liverpool are 15/2 to win the Premier League title this season, but does Jurgen Klopp have to fix the backline before the Merseysiders can challenge at the top again?
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