Defensive issues surface – again
Liverpool conceded their 38th and 39th goals of the 2016-17 season at Anfield on Wednesday night. That’s pretty remarkable considering the Merseyside club still have seven games to play. Ragnar Klavan was drafted into the Liverpool side in the absence of injured Joel Matip. The Estonia international struggled as he has tended to do when deputising for Dejan Lovren or Matip. Jamie Carragher was quick to criticise Lovren and Matip for their persistent injuries after the 2-2 draw. The biggest issue, though, is Liverpool’s best-performing defender is currently at Crystal Palace. Mamadou Sakho looks like a new player with a point to prove to Jurgen Klopp and it is frustrating for Liverpool fans to see the Frenchman impress in the kit of another Premier League team.
Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Bournemouth wasn’t that surprising given the absence of Sadio Mane. The Senegal international has been Liverpool’s player of the season and arguably the pick of the summer signings in the Premier League. Mane is a unique player in the Liverpool squad and Klopp doesn’t have adequate back-up for the African. While Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino are similar players, Mane is one of a kind and without the African, Liverpool will struggle to breakdown opponents adopting a negative approach.
It was frustrating that without Lallana and Mane, Liverpool really needed Daniel Sturridge to allow Firmino to drop into a deeper position. However, the England striker, who returned to the bench for the first time since his start against Hull in February, didn’t get any game time despite Liverpool’s close-fought draw with Bournemouth. It’s difficult not to like Sturridge and he is a world-class finisher when fit, but even the most patient of Liverpool fans are losing patience with the 27-year-old. The striker has some good Anfield memories but injuries have diminished his powers and fans’s faith in the Liverpool star.