Protecting the defence
Liverpool have an awful defensive record in the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp’s side have conceded 17 times in 11 games. That’s unacceptable for a team with title or top-four aspirations. Klopp’s back four have been subjected to relentless criticism – a lot of it fair. However, Liverpool don’t do enough to protect their defence. Emre Can, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum too often leave their centre-halves exposed to cause defensive disarray. The German coach has attempted to use Henderson in a holding role but it’s not the England international’s natural position. No wonder Lucas Leiva was so revered. Liverpool miss his presence.
Communication in back four
Another issue in the Liverpool defence has been poor communication. Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip haven’t worked as a pairing. Klopp’s lack of leaders at the back has been highlighted on a weekly basis this season. Virgil van Dijk appeared to be the answer for Liverpool but a deal failed to materialise in the summer. Communication is an attribute that can be developed. Lovren and Matip weren’t communicating effectively during Liverpool’s 4-1 loss at Tottenham.
Consistency going forward
Liverpool were 4-1 winners against West Ham in their last Premier League game before the international break. Mohamed Salah scored twice as Liverpool’s devastating attack were in full flow again. However, Liverpool haven’t always scored goals for fun. Indeed, the Reds have often been left frustrated by teams content to “park the bus”. If Liverpool are to overhaul their rivals in the top-four race, greater consistency up front is required.
Buying in January
Liverpool have tended to be quiet in the January transfer window under Klopp. In fact, not since the acquisitions of Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge in 2013 have Liverpool made a real splash in January. With the chasing pack threatening to pull away from Liverpool in pursuit of Manchester City, some January investment could be required. There is no doubt that the Reds could do with a new centre-half should Van Dijk or another suitable option prove to be available. As mentioned above, Liverpool should also be in the market for a defensive midfielder to shield Klopp’s back four.