Three quarters of another season have passed and it looks like Liverpool FC has the same old defensive problems. The team is on course to concede over 40 goals for the 7th straight season. That means that the last time LFC conceded less than a goal per match – you guessed it, Rafa Benitez was in charge. Jurgen Klopp has insisted that this season things have gotten better so let’s take a deeper look.
Loris Karius was bought in the summer to become LFC’s new number 1. Unfortunately he fractured his hand in preseason so Simon Mignolet started in goal for the Reds in the first 5 fixtures. Karius took over a few matches later just to be dropped due to his shaky performances after the draw with West Ham at Anfield. Mignolet has been starting since. Changing the keeper however didn’t really change the number of times the ball finds it’s way to Liverpool’s net. In 10 matches Karius has conceded 12 goals, while in 19 matches Mignolet has conceded 24.
Milner and Clyne are literally the only 2 players who have been available for most of the matches. Clyne has played 96% of the minutes at right-back while Milner has played 90% of the minutes at left-back.
Here is where the reason for our defensive inconsistencies lie. With the falling out between Mamadou Sakho and Klopp, LFC were left with Joel Matip (a new acquisition), Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan (a new acquisition) and Lucas Leiva (a midfielder) to play centre-back. At the beginning of the season our centre-backs hadn’t played a whole lot of matches together – maybe Lovren and Lucas had a few matches between them but Lucas is 4th choice. Since then injuries and FIFA have not helped in establishing a starting centre-back pairing.
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