Does Liverpool’s defence need an upgrade in January?

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Joel Matip of Liverpool closes down James McArthur of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on October 29, 2016 in London, England.
All rights reserved by Christopher Lee/Getty Images Europe

Damon Savenelli has a look at Liverpool’s defence and discusses if it needs to be upgraded.

Liverpool snagged yet another three points in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Crystal Palace. Goals from Emre Can, Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino paved the Reds’ way to victory.

Sure, our attack is one of the best in the league. As fans, it’s always fun watching our team score three or four goals every weekend, but what about the defence?

Even the best players in the world cool down eventually. The trio of Mane, Firmino, and Coutinho has been electric, but if these three were to suddenly have a dip in form, there would be an issue.

It’s easy to win every week when the team scores three or four goals because not many teams in the league can match the Liverpool attack. Liverpool’s defence has been a bit shaky, to say the least. Although clean sheets do not mean everything – the Reds have just 1 clean sheet through 10 Premier League matches – fans have started to ask questions.  

The partnership of Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren has been pretty solid, James Milner has also held his own over on the left side of the defence and Nathaniel Clyne, as always, has been reliable.  

Yesterday’s match showed that although our defence has improved, it can still be shaky at times. Lovren returned to his infamous worse when he did not clear the ball and it led to a silly goal for Crystal Palace. Although Moreno played well yesterday, he did make a defensive mistake that led to a goal. Replacing the ill Milner, Moreno did not close the ball down which allowed Wilfried Zaha to cross into the box, which led to a goal.

The defence will have to improve if Klopp and his men wish to be title contenders. With Joe Gomez returning to training, it looks as though he will be at Klopp’s disposal pretty soon. No-one is quite sure what is happening with Sakho but it looks like his career at Anfield is coming to an end and that leaves Joel Matip, Ragnar Klavan, and Dejan Lovren as recognised centre-halves.

I believe Lovren is a good defender. Klopp needs to continue to work with Lovren on the training ground, and hopefully he can eradicate the silly errors from his game which let him down. I also think that once Joe Gomez returns to the squad, he will play a large role in defence. Some fans have stated that they believe that we need a new centre-back to play alongside Matip but I don’t think that will be necessary.  

What I do believe will be necessary is the purchase of a left back.  While Milner has been solid, he is 30 years old and isn’t exactly one for the future. Having already retired from international football, Milner only has a few years of good football left in him. With Moreno proving to be unreliable, I believe a new left back will be needed.

Our attack will most likely not be able to score four goals every week and that means that Liverpool’s defence will need improvement if the Reds wish to remain at the top of the table.

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