Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Klopp’s defensive blindness costing Liverpool

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 25 Oct 2017

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is a very likeable guy and also a very good football boss. However, like many high profile football bosses, the German is extremely stubborn. In fact, Klopp’s stubbornness prevented him solving the Reds defensive issues in the summer.

Liverpool’s problems have been obvious for much of Klopp’s time on Merseyside. The big problem is that the Reds defence is simply not good enough. It would be fair to say that Liverpool could sign a new goalkeeper and a completely new back four and nobody could have any real complaints.

Liverpool defence all poor

Liverpool plays some fantastic attacking football and that has not really changed from last season. Neither has the Reds defence displays, though. Dejan Lovren is still looking shaky, while centre-back partner Joel Matip is escaping criticism because of his partner’s poor displays.

Lovren was hooked on the half-hour mark during the 4-1 defeat at Tottenham on Sunday afternoon. It was just the latest poor display from the former Southampton ace.

Matip is part of the problem too, despite producing some encouraging displays at the start of his Reds career. Then there is the problem left-back position, which for some reason Spaniard Alberto Moreno has possessed for much of the campaign.

The Spaniard’s displays last season were poor and he did not look to have a future at the club during the summer. However, a couple of good displays in pre-season saw him back in the fold.

Despite some promising performances earlier in the season, it is obvious to most observers that he is a defensive liability. The fact that he is still in the Reds starting line-up illustrates Klopp’s lack of willingness to change things.

I feel sorry for highly-rated young defenders Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold. Neither have done much wrong but have been thrown in at the deep end at Liverpool.

Insisted his defensive options were good enough

In the summer, Jurgen Klopp stuck to the mantra that his defensive options were strong enough. Yet, the Reds tried and failed to sign Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk. The Merseysiders put all their eggs in one Van Dijk shaped basket.

If Klopp really believed his defensive options were good enough why also sign a new left-back in Scotland international Andrew Robertson in the summer? The former Hull star has made just two Premier League appearances for Klopp’s team.

Those two performances were decent ones, so why Klopp stubbornly insists on playing Moreno is beyond me. It is this sort of stubbornness and poor decision making that is stopping the Reds becoming a top team once again.

The fact that the Reds failed to have an alternative to Van Dijk was negligent, from both Klopp and the people above him at the club.

The Champions League spots the Reds aim

Liverpool’s obvious aim is to get back to the top of the Premier League. However, the Reds were never going to be title challengers this season, even most Liverpool fans will have accepted that simply because they failed to strengthen the weak areas of their team.

The Merseysiders are 11/8 to finish in the Champions League spots this season, which according to the bookies makes Klopp’s side fifth favourites to finish in the league top-four.

To qualify for the Champions League for next season, the Reds will need to up their game. At the moment Klopp’s side are ninth place in the table.

For the first time during his Reds career, fans are questioning whether Jurgen Klopp is the right man to lead the team back to former glories. The German has to find a way to make his side more defensively solid.

One solution will be to bring in new defenders in January. However, the former Dortmund boss seems unwilling to bring new players into his defensive set-up, so he may never achieve real success at Anfield.

Will Liverpool sign defenders in January?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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2 Comments on "Klopp’s defensive blindness costing Liverpool"

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RJ3
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Very true about the defense. Look at the top three in the EPL at this point. Tottenham adds Aurier and D. Sanchez to what they already had. Man City adds Mendy, a new #1 GK, Kyle Walker, and Danilo. United adds, not a back line person of note–but a solid “controlling” midfielder in Matic who will allow a healthy, returning Pogba and the rest of their attack, to roam in the attack a bit more. I don’t get why they didn’t go for Van Dijk. I really thought they might, and I don’t know if it Klopp or “upper management”… Read more »
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