Liverpool continue to concede the sorts of goals that just cannot be explained away as bad luck or the odd mistake. Defensive errors, poor concentration, a lack of leadership, an inability to withstand any form of sustained pressure, organisation, protection from midfield, and seemingly minute defensive sense plague Liverpool's supposed defensive unit on most occasions. Real Madrid's comprehensive victory in midweek drew further attention to the deficiencies in a side that is very much a construct of Brendan Rodgers. Young Rodgers expressed his disappointment with the defending shown in midweek and is sure how the team can improve in that area.
Case against the Defence
Case against the Defence
One clean sheet. 18 goals conceded in 12 games for Simon Mignolet. Struggles against average attacking players. Set pieces, accursed set pieces. Rudderless displays with no ostensible leader in the centre of defence. Pressure on new signings. These all indicate that a side is in ardent need of some form of concentrated surgery to address the issue. Liverpool must implement changes to improve moving forward. Conceding 3 goals to Manchester City at the Etihad and Real Madrid anywhere isn't worthy of excessive soul searching by wounded Liverpool fans. However, middling or struggling teams shouldn't be bamboozling Liverpool's defence as the best could and probably would. Something different is needed and Brendan Rodgers doesn't think it's a defensive coach.
"It's not a case of needing to bring in another coach, a defensive coach or anything like that," Rodgers protested.
"I wouldn't go down that route. The bottom line is our team is based on balance and at times it's been poor. There is a collective responsibility to defend better and that's what we have to do. Our problem and the issue we have which we need to find the solution for is our lack of coaching time. Take this week, we played Wednesday night, the players physically recover on Thursday, and that leaves us with only a short period of time on the training field before we've got the game on Saturday.
"Over the last 18 months we have seen the developments of this team given coaching time. It's really not rocket science. The introduction of all our new players and having limited coaching time has caused us issues. We need to be better."
Rodgers continued by emphasising "collective effort" instead of blaming individuals but it's difficult to ignore a player when he's being held up as the leader Liverpool were missing. Combine that with a £20 million fee and an impressive campaign with Southampton last season, then any focus on Dejan Lovren becomes natural. A defensive coach? Not for Brendan Rodgers and his comment about "great competitors" aren't easy to get by defensively may damn most of his defence. This could be a motivational tool or an expression of frustration with an area of the field that appears to be a potential managerial weakness in a talented young manager.
Whatever the solution is, Liverpool need to find one and quickly.