There’s a real danger in counting chicks before they’ve hatched. Yet those connected to Liverpool— fans, players, staff— can’t help but look ahead to next season and the prospect of Champions League football. There’s the starry-eyed dreams of European nights returned to Anfield, of course, but there are also more practical concerns. What kind of talent will we need to bring in? What specific improvements need to be made?
In an interview ahead of tomorrow’s crucial late-season clash with West Ham, Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren admitted that the back line will need some work.
“We are an attacking team and when you’re an attacking team you have many players in the front. That means you will leave just a couple of players behind. Especially if you play the better teams, or quicker strikers, they will get one chance and they will use it. Today, when you see the most important thing today is defending, like a team. I wish I could stop three players (on my own) but it’s not possible. It’s teamwork and we showed the last three games, also in the first part of the season especially. Always, to hear this criticism, it is normal that they need to talk about that. But other teams also - Man City who score so many goals but also conceding a lot of goals. It’s not normal but when you think more about defensively, you can manage to have a clean sheet but then you will not score five goals in this game. We need to improve in defense especially in the Champions League because they are just the top teams of the leagues.”
Lovren also said that successful teams in Europe know how to find the right balance between defense and attack, and that Liverpool need to strike that balance.
“You see Barca, you see Juventus. They don’t concede many goals, they are defending properly, they are waiting. They know that in 94 minutes they will have a couple of chances and they have so many good strikers, they will use this one chance and it’s finished. The most important thing today is the three points. Everyone wants to see their team play well but if you want to go to the final or, like us, the next two games, you need to win the three points, the six points, I would say. Like Jurgen said, you can win games but to win a championship you need to be defensive and he’s right. It’s finding a balance.”
The Croatian defender also talked about tomorrow’s game at West Ham and how his side needs to approach it.
“We can’t be relaxed, even with throw-ins. We think now we have a rest but in football that doesn’t exist especially in the Premier League. They will put the ball in already and it’s 1-0 and you will wake up and maybe it’s too late. It’s like that with the corners. You need to start from the beginning to the end to defend and fight for your life like the manager says. I think we showed that especially against West Brom. They scored last year here two goals and now this season we know what it will be like and we did it. Maybe they are 10 metres taller than us altogether but like David against Goliath it doesn’t mean anything if you are taller. You need to be ready for that and we did it quite well and against West Ham it will be similar.”