Liverpool’s Defensive Dilemma: A Deep Dive
Liverpool’s recent 3-1 triumph over Bournemouth at Anfield was a spectacle for the attacking aficionados. With all three forwards finding the net and new recruits seamlessly integrating, it was a performance that showcased Liverpool’s attacking prowess. Yet, beneath the surface, defensive frailties persist, leaving many to question the Reds’ approach this season.
Big Chances Conceded: A Growing Concern
Liverpool’s defensive vulnerabilities, especially against counter-attacks, have been evident. In just two games, they’ve allowed 23 attempts on their goal. While outscoring opponents is a strategy that has served them well against lower-tier teams, questions arise when faced with formidable opposition.
The initial 10 minutes against Bournemouth were telling. Despite the attacking flair, gaps in the defence were evident. Trent Alexander-Arnold’s hybrid role, oscillating between right-back and a central position, left significant space behind him. Bournemouth’s strategy to exploit this with early balls over the top was evident, and it’s a tactic that other teams might adopt in the future.
Defending: The Achilles Heel?
The pre-season provided hints of what was to come. Direct balls over Liverpool’s defence were a recurring theme, and the space left by Alexander-Arnold when he moved centrally was often exploited. Jurgen Klopp acknowledged the initial struggles against Bournemouth, highlighting the need for improvement.
The early minutes of the Bournemouth game were riddled with errors. From Alexander-Arnold’s uncharacteristic poor control to Alisson’s hesitancy in decision-making, Liverpool’s defence seemed out of sync. Klopp’s men did find their rhythm eventually, but the vulnerabilities remained, even when they were a man down.
Midfield Conundrum: The Missing Link
Liverpool’s midfield has undergone significant changes. The absence of a dedicated holding midfielder has been felt. New signings like Dominic Szoboszlai bring flair but lack the defensive solidity of a deep-lying midfielder. This has perhaps contributed to Liverpool conceding 23 shots in their first two games, a stark contrast to their title-winning season average of nine.
The departures of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson have further compounded the issue. While Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia were potential targets, the responsibility now falls on Wataru Endo. The 30-year-old, who made his debut against Bournemouth, is expected to bring stability to the midfield.
Wataru Endo: The Midfield Maestro Liverpool Needs?
Endo’s experience and tenacity could be the answer to Liverpool’s midfield woes. As the captain of Japan, he brings leadership qualities that might be the stabilising factor Liverpool needs after a tumultuous summer.
While defensive concerns persist, Liverpool’s attacking flair remains one of the best in the league. If they can find the right balance, this season promises to be an exciting one for the Reds.