The addition of Virgil Van Dijk to Jürgen Klopp’s team immediately elevated Liverpool’s defensive acumen. Dejan Lovren looked so much more assured next the Dutchman last season. The team seemed to settle down, knowing big Virgil was in the back.
Then came Alisson and then came Joe Gomez. Fabinho will be bringing his defensive prowess to the side soon enough. Klopp has the makings of a powerfully difficult team to play against on his hands. The players are learning the managers methods all the time and Trent Alexander-Arnold recently spoke about how the squad has improved since last season.
“There’s probably a bit more of a difference from last season in terms of how we’re defensively organised,” Alexander-Arnold said.
“We’re not conceding as many goals and we’re still getting results, sometimes grinding them out.
“A win is a win at the end of the day and we’ve shown this year we can win in different ways.”
Klopp’s preferred method of defense is aggressive. He has set Liverpool up to press the opposition in order to gain possession of the ball. But without proper organisation, the process can create too much chaos. The players must be switched on to pressing opportunities and constantly aware of the movements of their teammates.
As a last line of defense, Alisson is in the top tier of goalkeepers in the world. If the pressing doesn’t work and the midfield gets by-passed and something gnarly happens in front of Liverpool’s goal, Alisson is there to stop it. But the Brazilian is also prepared to play aggressive football, reading the play and sprinting out of his box regularly to help the team.
“The messages the manager gives us and the way we defend as a team is front footed,” said Trent.
“We don’t want to concede too many chances and we haven’t so far this season, but when the keeper has been called upon, Alisson has made some world-class saves and shown he is a world-class keeper.”