Dave Davis wonders whether or not Klopp should emulate Gerard Houllier and revamp the defence entirely.
Liverpool have conceded 45 goals in the 31 Premier League games that Jürgen Klopp has been in charge. Whichever way you dress it, in regards of them not being his players or needing time on the training ground, that’s a worrying stat. Every time the opposition attack it’s nerve-wracking and defensive set pieces are still an accident waiting to happen. There is one solution which Gerard Houllier found to be the most successful – rip it up and start again.
Recent rumours that Mamadou Sakho will be made available for loan have prompted groans and questions about the manager, as the Frenchman enjoys cult status with many at Anfield. The country of Liverpool maybe in love with Sakho, but how many times has the 26 year old been part of a suspect back line? His distribution maybe decent and he gives his all, but he does get caught and even smaller forward such as Defoe showed he can be got at.
Off the field, with the drug scandal last season, being late and then being sent home from the pre-season tour, it would be no surprise if Klopp doesn’t trust Sakho anymore, despite the ex-PSG defender being touted as a potential captain. Youngsters leave on loan to get experience, for senior pro’s it’s the start of the end.
Dejan Lovren splits the fanbase, which is understandable as a man who is capable of a fantastic tackle and an appalling mistake in the same game would split even the most united of fanbases. The Croatian has been given the armband at times and I do believe he is one of Klopp’s first choices, but still doesn’t carry the authority expected of a man who cost £20 million.
Enough words have been dedicated to Alberto Moreno in recent times and you’ll do well to find many fans of the Spanish left back, but more worrying is the start by Nathaniel Clyne. For a player that some Reds regard as the best right back in the country, the right back has looked suspect in the opening games of the season despite his great engine and ability to bomb on. The clues in the title though – right back.
One thing that has to be remembered is that Klopp’s two defensive signings have very little footall so far. Loris Karius broke his hand during pre-season and Joel Matip is still working his way back from a long-term injury. A goalkeeper rated only second behind Manuel Neuer and a centre-half who was named in the Bundesliga Team of the Year will surely be brought into the starting line-up.
If these two hit the ground running, it could bring a solidity to the back line that’s been missing. It is an ‘if’ though as both will have to get used to the pace and physicality of the league, but surely can’t do much worse than their counterparts. Throw in a Joe Gomez to return and Emre Can to offer protection and the picture may look healthier in the coming months.
Players do carry baggage and stigma, there’s no but’s about it. Forget the declarations about the country of Liverpool and cult status, both Lovren and Sakho have played numerous games for Liverpool and looked suspect at times, that’s a fact. Clyne is capable of more yet the fact James Milner gets the nod ahead of Moreno says it all. If Klopp was to show his ruthless side and re-shape the defence completely, it would be understandable. If he doesn’t and the same frailties persist, questions will rightly be asked.