Ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Bournemouth this evening Brendan Rodgers has made it clear that the defence which was on display in the victory at the Britannia Stadium against Stoke will remain unchanged.
When the Reds took on the Potters in the opening game of the season Rodgers’ team set up with a flat back four. Nathaniel Clyne and Joe Gomez started as the fullbacks and Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren were paired as the centre halves in what was a dreaded decision.
To everyone’s astonishment, Skrtel and Lovren performed admirably and were able to keep a trick Stoke side at bay. The general consensus on Twitter was that Lovren was Liverpool’s best performer on the day.
“Having players that are going to be able to play consistently for you is key in any team, and especially in a back five. That’s vital,” Rodgers said in an interview found on Liverpool’s official website.
“I thought the back four and goalkeeper were excellent last week at Stoke with their organisation as a group and a unit.”
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The Northern Irishman was explicit in his praise of his Croatian centre-back who looked very impressive in his handling of Jonathan Walters whose Premier League experience often outdoes defenders.
“Dejan is aggressive, he’s good in the air, his reading of the game was good and his passing was simple but effective. I think he’s gained confidence over the pre-season and hopefully that will be maintained.”
What Liverpool lacked last season was a consistent pairing in the middle of the defence and Rodgers stresses how this is key.
“We have got excellent players here in (Mamadou) Sakho and Kolo (Toure), the central defenders, but centre-halves will tell you it’s about finding that comfort with a partner and that partnership,” the 42-year-old said. If Liverpool can find a comfortable pairing this term which doesn’t cause risk of heart failure to fans then it will be difficult for the Reds to finish outside of the Champions League places.
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