Steve Nicol has criticised two Liverpool players who he feels could hold the Reds back in terms of a potential Premier League title challenge.
As of Tuesday morning, the Reds are second in the table and only two points behind Arsenal, although Jurgen Klopp’s side just about preserved their 100% Anfield record this season after a quickfire late comeback to triumph 4-3 over Fulham on Sunday.
Speaking on ESPN FC, the former Reds right-back was asked if he’d go along with Craig Burley’s assessment that LFC’s defence would cost them in trying to compete with the Gunners and Manchester City for the title.
Nicol replied: “I do agree because right now, [Trent] Alexander-Arnold and [Kostas] Tsimikas are not good defenders. If you’ve got half of your back four who are not good defenders, it shouldn’t really be a surprise that you’re giving up chances and goals.”
Admittedly the Fulham match wasn’t the finest hour-and-a-half for Liverpool’s back four, but it’s not as if the Reds are in the midst of a defensive crisis. Prior to Sunday they’d shipped just two goals over their previous five league games, while only Arsenal have conceded fewer in the top flight so far this term.
Meanwhile, Trent – whose defensive qualities have been subjected to much scrutiny in the past – has more than made up for any such lapses with his huge impact at the other end of the pitch over the last couple of weeks.
Liverpool have conceded 12 goals in as many league games with the £180,000-per-week England international in the team. Kyle Walker – who’s been Man City’s go-to right-back for much of the season so far – has been part of a defence which has shipped 16 goals in 14 top-flight matches (Transfermarkt).
There is scope for the Reds’ full-backs to improve defensively, but it’s harsh from Nicol to declare that the two current starters in those positions are ‘not good defenders’.
You can view Nicol’s comments below (from 1:40), via ESPN FC on YouTube: