Liverpool Must Address Defensive Woes

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Liverpool is a very good attacking side, but the Reds’ defensive organization and application are not well structured. 

Liverpool’s defensive vulnerabilities were exhibited, once again, in last Saturday’s 3-2 defeat against West Brom.

Liverpool’s manager, Jurgen Klopp, has been under the spotlight about the way his side is conceding goals, most notably against lesser teams. But Klopp has yet to solve the team’s defensive problems.

Virgil van Dijk joined the team with the prospect of solving Liverpool’s defensive problems. It remains to be seen how much impact the Dutch international will have.

There are varied opinions about what’s wrong with Liverpool.

Some believe the team doesn’t have enough defensive-minded players to help the back four. Others believe the team’s style of play contributes to awful defending. While I agree with both positions, I also believe that Liverpool’s problems at the back are complicated.

Yes, Liverpool is a very good attacking side. The likes of Sallah, Mane, and Firmino are devastating when the team is on the front foot. But team balance isn’t right. The Reds’ defensive organization and application are not well structured and that has resulted in the team’s instability at the back, including many individual errors.

When the team’s attack breaks down, you expect players to recover quickly and help the back four regain possession. That just doesn’t happen enough for Liverpool.

The team’s attacking style of football doesn’t create enough room for players to defend in numbers when the team is on the back foot.

I understand the fan’s frustration regarding defensive lapses–letting in 7 goals in the last 4 games is difficult to take.

It’s easier to focus on errors committed by the back four when a goal is conceded. But, in my view, keepers should not be left out of the scenario because they are the last line of defence.

Neither Simon Mignolet nor Loris Karius has shown the courage and assertiveness required to keep things tight at the back. They’re simply not dominating the 18-yard box and are not good at sweeping up behind the defence.

Simon Mignolet (photo, Daily Star)

In fairness, these two are very good with the ball at their feet, but I don’t think they are using it well enough. There are too may communication breakdown between Liverpool’s defence and the keeper while defending set pieces.

That’s obvious when a team is conceding three or more goals in a match, which has in so many games this season. Finishing in the top four is still within reach–provided the Reds do what is needful. But let’s also admit that injuries, fatigue, and suspensions have taken a toll.

That’s why I think it’s a matter of putting first things first. This team needs to focus more on defending in numbers than on committing bodies forward.

Can Liverpool solve its defensive woes? I think so if the team stays resolute, shows more desire, and is determined to get better defensively.

Those are the only ways out of the current predicament. The good news is that Liverpool may be on the rebound. The Reds beat Huddersfield in mid-week, 3-0.


About Geoffrey Ofoegbu

I’m from Abuja, Nigera. I have passion for football (soccer) and enjoy writing articles about the clubs, managers, players, and anything connected with the game. It has always been my dream to be a sport columnist. Joining the team at TSC is a stepping stone to fulfilling that dream–launching a career in the sports industry. Sport of Expertise: Football, Basketball. Favorite Teams: Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Chelsea, Arsenal. Favorite Players: Ronaldo, Paul Pogba, Sergio Aguero, Alexis Sanchez, Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos, David Silva, Yaya Toure, Antonio Valencia.

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