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Liverpool have had just ONE first-class defender in the last decade — why haven’t they solved such an obvious problem?

Liverpool are too big of a club to settle for defenders who 'do a job' or 'put a shift in'

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.

Jurgen Klopp is yet to transform Liverpool into a ruthless winning machine

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Klopp is the latest Liverpool manager to be given sleepless nights by his defence

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.

Luis Suarez - who netted in the game - revealed Daniel Sturridge dived at Old Trafford

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Not even a world-class goalscorer can counteract a shaky defence

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.


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But Dejan Lovren was less than impressive for Liverpool this week

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Dejan Lovren cost £20million in 2014

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.

Jamie Carragher hit out at Jose Enrique as the Spaniard sat in the Liverpool reserves

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Like Gerrard, Carra was a true leader

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.


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Liverpool — the banter years

PA:Press Association
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Liverpool — the banter years

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.

A world-class centre-back pairing is like a shortcut to the title

AP:Associated Press
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A world-class centre-back pairing is like a shortcut to the title

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.

Liverpool want a fee of around £13million for left-back Alberto Moreno

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Liverpool have had a few defenders who aren’t that good at defending in recent years

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.

Virgil van Dijk was a Southampton hero for much of last term but might have some work to do to rebuild his status with their fans as he finally returns

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Problem solved?

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…

 


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