Despite a reputation for being somewhat porous at the back, in recent weeks Liverpool’s defence has begun to tighten up and, overall, their 14 goals against stands them a respectable fifth best in that category behind only the other current top five clubs.
They may have the weakest defence of the current top five, but they still have the defence of a side that—based on goals against at least—should be challenging for a Champions League place. And defender Dejan Lovren is certain they’re going to get better.
“It’s important to have a clean sheet but when you’re in the Premier League it’s really tough [and] I always prefer the three points,” Lovren said. “I think we’re on 85 per cent. We’re in good shape, everyone is doing well, but I think we can be better.
“As the season goes on further, hopefully until the end we can be still in the top four and maybe even in first place. We just need to work hard and keep our heads down and not to think about big things—go game by game, that’s the best thing for us.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool’s deadly attack has given them time to begin to show signs of improvement, with Lovren’s partnership with Jöel Matip quickly developing, James Milner learning his position, and Loris Karius appearing to grop more confident by the week.
Key to that, Lovren thinks, may be that for the centre of the defence—the two centre halves and the goalkeeper behind them—there is a shared language. All three are comfortable speaking German on the pitch, something Matip and Lovren at least do often.
“It’s always easier when you have the feeling with your partner and know each other,” he added. “We’ve done it quite well, even in pre-season. I don’t know why, maybe because he’s speaking German and I’m speaking German, maybe that’s the thing.”
Liverpool head into their next match knowing one of their rivals will drop points, with Manchester City taking on Chelsea on Saturday morning to open the fixture round while the Reds head to Bournemouth looking for their fourth league clean sheet in a row.