Liverpool’s issues at centre-back should be their main concern as they prepare for the rest of the season.
Throughout last season and the summer transfer window, Liverpool’s focus has been on their shortcomings in central midfield. Indeed, the three new players brought in all play in the position.
But every supporter is also acutely aware of the Reds need for defensive reinforcement. And speaking on The Kelly & Wrighty Show yesterday, Ian Wright suggested that Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate need to step up and fix that.
“When you’re going to invert like Trent [Alexander-Arnold] is, you do need somebody behind you who’s confident of cleaning that up, like Arsenal with [William] Saliba, you see how much we [Arsenal] missed him.
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“There’s so many things that can go wrong with Liverpool. Once they get that right, strengthen that defence up, then you’ve got that midfield now, you can see you’re going to get something, there’s a sturdiness that they’re not going to concede
“I still believe the backline is what Liverpool have to worry about, even when Virgil [Van Dijk] comes back [from suspension].”
Liverpool warned about defensive fraility
This isn’t necessarily a hot take from Wright. Even before the last week, Liverpool fans were sweating over their centre-back situation.
But after Konate’s injury and Van Dijk’s red card, it’s clear that we’re now down to the bare bones.
Hopefully Van Dijk only misses one game. But there have been suggestions that the Dutchman could see his spell on the side lines extended having been abusive towards officials.
It still remains to be seen just how long Konate is missing for. Given his injury history though, you can forgive fans for being concerned.
Beyond that, there are obvious question marks over Gomez and Matip. In fairness to the former, his injury issues do look to be a thing of the past. Nevertheless, there serious concerns remain over his apparent loss of quality.
Matip on the other hand has convinced slightly more, but the 32-year-old can’t play more than two games in succession. He also isn’t very well suited to covering Alexander-Arnold’s forays into midfield, as Wright points out.
There is the precocious talents of Jarell Quansah to consider here, but Liverpool shouldn’t be relying on the 20-year-old. Instead, the Reds should take Wright’s suggestion seriously, and head into the transfer market. Somehow, we don’t think we’ll be signing Saliba, though.