The Peculiar Case of the Liverpool defence

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By Mobeen Kamran

Many have blamed Liverpool’s defence on their short coming in the league and Liverpool desperately require reinforcements in their defence or do they.

Liverpool interchanged their defence between four defenders: Martin Skrtel, Kolo Toure, Daniel Agger and new comer Mammadou Sakho. Not only were these 4 interchanged between each other (all of them having a partnership except Agger and Sakho). Not only were there changes in partners there were also changes in formation for the players. At the beginning of the season Liverpool played a 4-3-3, then after the arrival of Luis Suarez a 3-52, a 4-1-2-3 and a 4-4-2 diamond towards the end of the season.

In the beginning of the season Liverpool played with 2 holding midfielder (Henderson and Lucas or Gerrard and Lucas). During this time Liverpool kept 3 clean sheets. After Lucas got suspended and spent some time outside of the first team Liverpool started to ship goals in.

Rather than blaming the lack in top quality personnel it should be seen that Brendan Rodgers sacrificed a second holding midfielder for an extra striker this led to an exposed defence. If a look is taken at any of the clubs around Liverpool they all played with 2 holding midfielders (Yaya Toure and Fernandhinio for Man City, Ramires and Matic for Chelsea and Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky for Arsenal).

With an aging defence as Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel entering their 30s while Kolo Toure is already in them, a young and inexperienced Mammdou Sakho played less than 20 league games last season and Thiago Illori who did not even get a sniff of first team football and was shipped out on loan to Granada. It is clear Liverpool need a young experienced Centre back and so is being linked with one in Dejan Lovren who would be the ideal signing for Liverpool.

But the defence is not anything that should be looked at, the midfield that is covering the defence should also be considered. With the obvious fact that Gerrard is getting older looks almost unable to keep up with teams that carry pace on the counter attack (Aston Villa match), while Lucas continuously suffers leg injuries reinforcements in the holding midfield position were needed and this need was fulfilled when Emre Can was purchase, a player who plays from one box to the next, someone who has the legs to deal with the pace and physicality in the game.

Fans should expect drastic improvement in the defence in the 2014/2015 season not only with new players brought into the club but for Brendan Rodgers as he will have learnt that a top heavy teams win matches but not titles. However one should not be too optimistic about the future of the Liverpool defence as Liverpool are yet to sign anyone in that department!