One of the biggest criticisms of Liverpool Football Club as a whole can be narrowed down to their defense. Many claims can be made, such as needing a decent actual left-back, or the lack of consistent quality when it comes to the center, or learning maybe some actual strategies for defending set pieces. It’s been years since Liverpool were noted as being a defensively strong team, and it’s starting to wear on the club and their ability to move forward and progress as they should be doing.
The first step to solving a problem, though, is recognizing that there is one. Jürgen Klopp has been pretty adamant that Liverpool are doing far better defensively than their stats would have you believe, especially leading up to what could be another physical match up on Monday against Watford. With a more attack minded team, like Liverpool, it can be difficult for defenders to know exactly where to be and how far forward or back to mark, not to mention against teams that prefer to sit deep and wait on the second ball.
“A centre-half for a top team is playing with a lot of space at the back,” he said to The Echo. “That’s how Tottenham act, how City act and sometimes how Arsenal act. Manchester United are for sure a bit different.
“That is the situation, you have to involve a lot of players usually in offensive things, you cannot be offensive with two players in a counter-attack when there are already eight from the other team in their own half or box. So, yes, of course it is more difficult.”
Talk, inevitably, turned to how Liverpool can expect to move forward, with the summer transfer window approaching and the prospect of the club acquiring a new center-back - or if they even should. Dejan Lovren was responsible for two mistakes last weekend that led to Crystal Palace’s victory. Klopp is more than aware of the mistakes and the rumors, and spoke about what he is looking for.
“I saw a lot of centre-halves, that is how it is,” he continued. “We cannot go for a centre-half of Bayern Munich for example, they have similar problems that we have. You have to imagine how he will react in different situations. All clubs defend in some moments high.
“It is about being football-smart and they have make the right decision in the right moment, stepping back and all that stuff.
“For example, the second goal was after a set-piece, but it came after we lost the ball in build-up and things like this.
“If he steps back in this moment then for a few seconds there could be help from somewhere. It was two wrong decisions in one situation. That then is really difficult. But defending high is not a problem, it is only a different job.”