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Why Liverpool are struggling in defence under Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool's defensive issues have continued to hold the team back despite Jurgen Klopp's best efforts


Southampton v Liverpool - Premier League
An inconsistent defence is holding Liverpool back

Liverpool is one of the most dangerous sides in Europe when it comes to attacking, but among the elite clubs, they also have one of the poorest defences, an issue that has existed ever since Rafa Benitez left Anfield in 2010.

The Merseyside outfit has had four managers since then which include two major stints by Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp. The latter has not managed to fill the cracks in Liverpool's back line despite being at Anfield for over two years now.

The team has predominantly employed a 4-3-3 system under Klopp, who uses the gegenpressing (counter-pressing) tactic to win back the ball high up the pitch and create chances which eventually lead to goals. The defensive struggles originate from an often badly-positioned defence.

Dejan Lovren, Alberto Moreno, and Joe Gomez have been guilty of making blunders which have led to crucial goals being conceded. The Reds have conceded 25 goals in 22 games so far this season which is a lot considering they are 4th on the table.

Another factor to look into is the fact that the Liverpool back line lacks a real leader like Jamie Carragher.

The midfield often consists of Philippe Coutinho and Emre Can either side of club captain Jordan Henderson who occupies the deeper role. Poor stats in tackles and interceptions speak clearly that Henderson is not suited for such a role.

Players like Adam Lallana, James Milner, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can also slot into the wider positions. The heart of the matter is that prior to joining Liverpool, all these players except Emre Can be used to play higher up the pitch, i.e., CAM/RM/LM. This in itself is a cause for concern as in their system of counter-pressing, the wide midfielders have to be defensively sound.

Simon Mignolet is a decent shot stopper but he is not at all commanding in the air. Both the Belgian and the second-choice keeper Loris Karius have been far too inconsistent to qualify as safe bets.

Another problem in their backline is that their full-backs look much better going forward as compared to defending. Although Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold have shown their mettle this season, Nathaniel Clyne's defensive ability is being missed.

Joel Matip is definitely Liverpool's best defender and now that Virgil Van Dijk has joined the Reds for a record £75m, fans will be hoping that they become more solid at the back. This will help Liverpool to compete for silverware in the future but their defensive problem might well be more centred around their system than their players.

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