With five goals conceded in three games, Liverpool’s defensive issues remain a huge issue, and according to Reds legend Jamie Carragher, Jurgen Klopp has not done enough to rectify the situation.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the embarrassing 2-0 defeat Burnley, Carra described Liverpool’s ‘poor’ defence as a ‘big problem’, and blamed Klopp for misallocation of transfer resources:
“It [the defence] was a big problem under Rodgers and it hasn’t been rectified. Klopp’s had a summer now and looked at where he needs to strengthen, but the big-money buys have been at the other end of the pitch”.
Carra also slammed Klopp’s failure to sign a dedicated defensive-midfielder:
“They [Liverpool] are [also] lacking in the holding midfield position. Henderson^ is not a defensive midfield player and Can is the only one in the squad that does play there because it looks like Lucas is surplus to requirements”.
To be fair, Joel Matip hasn’t featured yet, and he may be a (partial) solution to Liverpool’s defensive issues. That said, Matip struggled badly against Mainz, so there are no guarantees (!)
There is, however, no excuse for the defensive midfield situation. Klopp has had plenty of time to solve this issue, but he seems pigheadedly intent on shoehorning attacking midfielders into the role:
* If Can isn’t going to start, then, for the love of God, play Kevin Stewart, who is a dedicated defensive-midfielder. He may not be as experienced as Wijnaldum, but who cares? Stewart has performed that role with distinction for Liverpool, and, most importantly, he knows how to play as a DM.
* If Stewart isn’t good enough, and/or can’t be trusted against a newly-promoted team, then there’s no point even having him on the bench. Stewart is good enough, though, and he will only become better by playing regularly in the Premier League.
* If Klopp doesn’t trust Stewart, then sign someone else to fill the role. It’s that simple.
Whether it’s defence or midfield, the constant personnel merry-go round is (IMO) one of the key issues impacting Liverpool’s defensive solidity. The Reds do not have a settled back four, or even a regular central defensive partnership. One minute it’s Matip/Lovren (pre-season), then it’s Lovren/Matip, with Mignolet instead of Karius.
When the transfer window closes, Klopp needs to choose a back four and stick with it come hell or high water (injuries and catastrophic loss of form notwithstanding) until the January transfer window. My selection:
Clyne —– Matip — Klavan — New LB
————— New DM