It’s not rocket science, it’s not GCSE science, it’s not even using a Bunsen burner to toast marshmellows.
If Liverpool ever want to win a Premier League title then they MUST improve their defence… considerably.
A front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, supplemented by the creativity and long-range shooting of Philippe Coutinho, is the latest in a long line of title-worthy attacking units boasted by the Anfield club.
Over the last ten years they’ve had prime era Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, a fit and in-form Danny Sturridge and Luis Suarez.
They’ve never had a problem scoring goals.
But for at least ten years now they’ve had a permanently dodgy, inconsistent and often makeshift defence.
It’s simply not acceptable.
In 2013/14 the SAS partnership of Suarez and Sturridge finished as the top two goalscorers in the league and yet they still finished runners-up.
Why? Not because of Steven Gerrard’s slip, but because they conceded 50 goals over the course of the campaign.
A team that ships half-century of goals simply won’t win the title — it’s as simple as that.
Their defensive frailties were exposed yet again against Tottenham on Sunday when Dejan Lovren not once, but twice inexplicably missed simple headers which led to two early goals.
Lovren then suffered the ultimate embarrassment of being hooked off before the half hour mark to spare him anymore blushes.
I’ve looked back at every Liverpool squad of the last decade and found just one consistently first-class defender — Jamie Carragher.
I would have included Sami Hyypia but he was at the end of his time in England ten years ago and suffered natural deterioration as he reached his mid-thirties.
Nathaniel Clyne could perhaps make a claim to be included but I have ruled harshly against the tireless right-back.
For me the likes of Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, John Arne Riise and Glen Johnson were all more than capable on their day but weren’t consistent or outstanding enough to be title-worthy defenders.
The rest of the candidates are made up of a few who ‘always put a good shift in’ (Steve Finnan being the prime example) and a host of total flops — Sebastian Coates, Philipp Degen and Aly Cissokho being my personal highlights in this regard.
One properly good defender in ten years? For a club as big as Liverpool? It’s nothing short of outrageous.
Liverpool haven’t had one defender named in Team of the Year in the last decade.
Not even Carragher, who, while capable of talismanic and passionate displays, was a notch below the likes of Rio Ferdinand, John Terry and Vincent Kompany.
Compare that record to Man United and Chelsea (eight each) and it’s embarrassing.
Even Arsenal and Man City, who have both had issues in defence in the last few years, boast five and three defensive inclusions in Team of the Year over the same period.
How have so many transfer windows gone by without the problem being resolved?
Liverpool were crying out for a left-back this summer just gone.
They signed Andrew Robertson but have since preferred Alberto Moreno, a man who just last year was so out of favour Klopp decided it was best to play James Milner out of position.
Problem most definitely not solved.
There also was something inevitable about the Virgil van Dijk saga, almost as if there’s a curse that prohibits Liverpool recruiting a quality defender.
Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren fit the same mould as Agger, Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho and Liverpool era Kolo Toure in that they are competent centre-backs on their day but they’re not going to win you the league.
Liverpool simply must sign Van Dijk and a proven left-back in January.
At least then they’d be halfway to solving a decade-long problem.
Don’t hold your breath though…