The New Season Is Closer, Liverpool Back Line Still Problematic

The back line was one of the keys to the greatness of Liverpool last season, both in domestic competitions and between European clubs. Liverpool conceded the fewest (22 goals) and kept the most clean sheets (21) in the Premier League last season. In the Champions League, Liverpool conceded only 5 times in 7 knock-out matches and managed to keep a clean sheet when it topped Tottenham in the final match.

However, the story of Liverpool’s defense is different in this preseason. The Reds conceded three goals against Borussia Dortmund and Napoli and were uprooted twice by Sevilla and Sporting CP.

Virgil van Dijk and friends failed to keep a clean sheet in 6 of 7 preseason games. The only game in which the Reds didn’t concede was against Tranmere Rovers in the inaugural preseason match. Of course, matches in the summer can not be used as a definite measure. However, this trend continues when the club faces its first tough test.

Liverpool, who fielded the best players in the back line, were conceded by Raheem Sterling’s goal in the first 15 minutes of the Community Shield. It is during the match against Manchester City.

Liverpool coach Juergen Klopp also had replaced right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold and enter Joel Matip after Trent appeared to have difficulty stopping the pace of Man City players from his sector. Matip’s contribution was crucial as he scored the equalizer.

Still, Liverpool’s defensive performance in the preseason could make some of their supporters worrying ahead of the new season. Moreover, the Reds have not patched the squad with high-profile purchases so far.

Liverpool only brought teen midfielder Harvey Elliott from Fulham, young defender Sepp van den Berg from PEC Zwolle, and goalkeeper Adrian from a free transfer after his contract with West Ham ended.

However, Juergen Klopp remains happy with the performance of foster children even though he admitted Man City bothered Liverpool in the first round. “There is no other team that plays like Manchester City. You can see in a few moments in the first half, they are free to do what they want,” Klopp told Sky Sports. “In terms of positioning we have difficulties but that is normal.” Juergen Klopp also said that he was more pleased with his team’s performance in the second half.

“This is one more thing about preseason: You fill your body with all the physical information that they are not accustomed to getting after 4-5 weeks. We have passed the point of adjustment where children no longer feel tired and can speed up,” he said again.

Liverpool did show an increase in back-line performance in the second half of the Community Shield match. In the first half, Man City fired five shots at goal Alisson Becker. After the break, Liverpool’s defense limited Pep Guardiola’s efforts to just one shot.

Liverpool will participate in the first match of the Premier League this season, namely when facing Norwich at Anfield Stadium on Saturday (10/08/2019). The promotion team can immediately test the defense of the Reds.

Norwich recorded 93 goals when it rocketed to the top of the Championship Division last season. Their striker, Teemu Pukki, is the Premier League’s second caste top scorer with a record of 29 goals.

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