By Alex Elleman
Brendan Rodgers defensive tactics and selections have been an issue for the Liverpool manager since taking over the helm at Anfield in 2012.
In his three seasons at Liverpool, the Reds have conceded a total of 191 goals across a total of 160 matches. Unfortunately for Rodgers, he has not yet been able to sustain a solid defensive line throughout his time at Liverpool.
The 2012/13 season saw Rodgers side concede a total of 43 goals and finish 7th. With Rodgers first adjusting to life at Liverpool he was able to assess the areas that needed improvement in defence, heading into the 2014/15 season.
During Rodgers first season at Liverpool fans saw the Reds improve their goal scoring with the in-form Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge leading the line for Liverpool, seeing them finish in second place.
However, the goals conceded tally actually rose, with Liverpool conceding a total of 50 goals throughout the season. A stat thaw showed signs that despite their improvements going forward, Liverpool’s defence was still struggling.
Last season highlighted Liverpool’s defensive struggles as the Rodgers had to make to without Suarez who transferred to Barcelona, and Sturridge who spent the majority of the season injured.
This left Rodgers having to be content with a sixth place finish with several deflating losses in the final rounds of the season, including a six-one defeat to Stoke on the final day. This left Liverpool with a 48 goals against tally at the end of the season.
It looked as though Liverpool’s defence may have turned a corner this season with a series of clean sheets in opening matches.
However, in the last two rounds, Liverpool’s defensive wounds have been reopened to reveal that Rodgers has done little to rectify his defence.
The signings of Nathaniel Clyne and Joe Gomez have no doubt given Liverpool an added emphasis down the line, with both full backs looking to get forward to assist in the attack.
But the central defensive pairing of Lovern and Skrtel has shown fault once again with both players struggling to gel.
Skrtel who is Liverpool’s longest standing defender has struggled in the past two matches but is no doubt Rodgers’ first choice centre half.
Rodgers £20 million signing Dejan Lovern’s run of poor form has mirrored the mistakes of last season, yet Rodgers remains persistent in selecting the Croatian.
Pressure is building on Brendan Rodgers to improve his side’s defence after two consecutive losses, in which Liverpool conceded three goals.
With Alberto Moreno and Mamadou Sakho kept out of starting XI, fans are starting to lose patience with Rodgers decisions.
Another key point that was raised in Liverpool’s defensive decisions was to loan out Tiago Ilori to Aston Villa, after a fantastic U20 campaign with Portugal.
Especially considering that the loan deal offered by Rodgers gave Villa the option to buy out the contract at the end of the loan spell.
Whilst Rodgers is currently dealing with the backlash of supporters, pundits and various club legends, he will need to rectify and solidify his defensive line quickly if Liverpool is to have a decent chance at top four this season, or indeed if he is to keep his job.
Currently, Liverpool sits ninth after five games with three goals for and six against.