Klopp’s view: No general defending problem for Liverpool. We need to dominate games.
Does Jurgen Klopp have a wrong idea about how his Liverpool FC side should play? Do Liverpool really have a defensive issues to resolve. See ComeOnLads.com analysis on Liverpool published in September and make a reality check.
Liverpool went through a difficult week losing the Premier League visit to Etihad Stadium by 5–0 and then drawing a Champions League home fixture against Sevilla, that they should have easily won. Is there anything wrong with the Reds squad, their current form or the way they play? I think the answers to all those are “Yes” and that Jurgen Klopp should address few important things..
The 4–3–3 formation
Liverpool have been playing 4–3–3 for most of the time, after Jurgen Klopp has taken on the managerial role at Anfield. Although his tactical formation has resulted in the Reds playing exciting attacking football and scoring many goals, it also makes them vulnerable at the back. But why?
Liverpool just don’t have a central defence they can rely on and this is a necessity in order to be successful while playing with 4–3–3 formation. After the 2–2 draw with Sevilla, centre-back Joel Matip spoke to the Liverpool Echo and told the newspaper that “It’s hard to say what went wrong”.
“Every player acts for the defence. The two goals don’t look too good. They used their chances. Sometimes one or two goals have to be enough to win a game. We’ll have to look at them again and see another solution to do better next time. We have to learn from this and ensure it does not happen again”, said Matip.
It was actually his defensive partner Dejan Lovren who created a mess (again) for Liverpool in a number of situations during the game. It was his responsibility to clear the ball after Sergio Escudero delivered a cross into the box, but he failed to clear what looked like an easy ball and Wissam Ben Yedder had an easy chance to open the scoring.
It appears that Lovren doesn’t have the class to play for a top 4 team, something he has proved on a number of occasions during his time at Anfield. However, it is not about pointing fingers solely at Lovren. Liverpool are also lacking in a strong defensive midfielder who can organise the players in front of the central defensive duo and control the game when the team has to go back. Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum are anything but holding midfielders.
Liverpool need tactically flexibility!
After Saido Mane’s sending off during the Reds’ visit to the Etihad, Klopp has obviously failed to reshuffle his team in order to adapt it to the changing environment on the pitch. After Manchester City scored their second goal, the 10-men of Liverpool had a tough task — to attack and score at least one goal, while at the same time demonstrate a solid defensive performance in order to prevent Man City from scoring more. They failed.
On Wednesday’s Champions League night at home, Liverpool completely blew past Sevilla in attack and outplayed the Spanish side. However, it was the underlying weakness of the Reds’ defence which was on show once again. Without dominating the game even for five minutes, Sevilla took advantage from Liverpool’s disorganised central defence and grabbed a point at Anfield, one which they shouldn’t have been in contention to get.
Reds should have scored a penalty at the end of the first half, which would have helped them to gain a comfortable advantage. However, even if they would have taken the lead by 3 goals to one, this would not present Jurgen Klopp with a solution to Liverpool’s defensive issues.
It is virtually impossible for Klopp’s men to progress in the Champions League any further than the first or second elimination rounds, if they even get out of the group stage. If they defend as they did against Man City and Sevilla, there will be no chance. The only hope they have of making a serious claim in Europe is to go in the January transfer market and spend heavily on a top-quality central defender as well as a holding midfielder.