Liverpool’s 5 – 0 mauling at the hands of Man City at the Etihad on Saturday brought an end to Liverpool’s impressive run against the Premier Leagues top 5 teams which saw us go unbeaten against them in the league last season.
It also ended the Reds unbeaten away record which stretched back to last February when we lost 3-1 to defending champions, Leicester City.
The drubbing also brought Liverpool’s frailties from last season back to the fore as our inability to perform without the influential Sadio Mane and our weaknesses in defence were clear for all to see.
Liverpool suffered an immediate dip in form when Mane departed for the African Cup of Nations and failed to win a game during his absence, only picking up 2 points over the period with draws away to Manchester United and to Chelsea at Anfield.
The Reds dropped from second to fourth place losing eight points on Chelsea at the top in the process.
Jurgen Klopp’s men also crashed out of both cup domestic cup competitions with a two leg loss to Southampton in the EFL Cup semi-final and a 2-1 defeat at home to Wolves in the FA Cup.
The impact of Mane’s red card last Sunday was immediate as Liverpool conceded their second goal of the game shortly after his dismissal and practically imploded without registering a single shot on target in the second half.
The withdrawal of Mohammed Salah which was deemed necessary to change our formation didn’t help matters in attack but it was our defence that was exposed from that point on as we were torn apart.
In an interview Kevin De Bruyne gave to Sky Sports after the game on Sunday, he spoke of how Manchester City had planned to take advantage of Liverpool’s weak defence and how he was able to get plenty of crosses and passes in behind our back four.
Manchester City had a total of ten shots on target during the game with seven of those ending up in the back of the net, all be it having two of them ruled out for offside.
Jurgen Klopp’s decision to rotate the defence, dropping Lovren and bringing in Klavan away to one of the contenders for the Premier League title highlighted just how thin our defence really is.
The tally on Sunday now means that Liverpool have conceded eight Premier League goals this season, the same number we have scored. That brings the total to eleven goals conceded in six games across all competitions so far this season: a very worrying statistic.
Early last season, fans and pundits were pointing out the weaknesses in the Reds back line with as both Lovren & Matip both suffered injuries throughout the season, ensuring third choice centre back, Ragnar Klavan played in 20 of the 38 Premier League last year.
A worrying statistic is that Liverpool dropped more points (18) from leading positions than all but 4 other teams in the Premier League last season and that statistic looks likely to be continued this season.
Failure to bring in a quality centre back or two in the summer and the sale of Mamadou Sakho means that Liverpool are to compete on four fronts with just four recognised centre backs in Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip, Ragnar Klavan & Joe Gomez, all of whom besides Klavan are injury prone.
Many will argue that with the exception of Joel Matip, none are good enough to play for Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool’s attack has proved to be a potent force so far this season but with us conceding as many goals as we have scored, if the trend continues, the table will not make for nice reading come the end of the season.
Having gone through last January and this summer transfer window without addressing the defensive issues, it’s vital that Liverpool do something to remedy it in the coming January transfer window. A window in which Liverpool have not done any business in for a number of years.
The only activity there has been in any January window under Jurgen Klopp has been the signing of Steven Caulker on loan.
It Liverpool are to have any hope to improve on last year’s league position and to progress in the Champions League, it’s vital that our defence is strengthened in the coming transfer window.