Hardworking.Passionate.Resilient. These were all the things on display by Liverpool against Norwich on the weekend in an enthralling spectacle. Yet the game was somewhat overshadowed by a recurring defensive vulnerability on show by Liverpool. All four goals scored by Norwich came courtesy of a poorly defended Liverpool set-piece. The defence has been a major issue for Liverpool for a number of seasons now, even in the season where the title was nearly won. It’s an aspect of the game that Jurgen Klopp can tediously practise on the training pitch, but the lack of quality and depth in the back line is an issue.
Lovren and Skrtel have had rich veins of form yet still within that time have struggled with set pieces and crosses whipped into the box. Sakho on the other hand has been deliberately targeted for teams due to his undoubted lack of confidence on the ball. The high press philosophy used by Liverpool has on occasion been used against them to act upon the passing deficiency of the centre backs.
Their has been a lack of movement in the transfer window so far and it’s unlikely Klopp is going to fork out cash on the back line when the attack is in need of refurbishment following a string of injuries. Yet, with Kolo Toure ageing and Steven Caulker (currently being used as a striker) going back to Southampton it’s unlikely that there won’t be movement in the summer. What players could be on that summer list?
It is reported that this move is sealed. In principle anyway. His contract expires in the summer of 2016 and although it’s been reported he may join in January, Schalke are reluctant to let him go until the end of the season. It’s a player that Jurgen Klopp knows a lot about from his long period in Germany; his reading of play as well as his aerial strength are his main assets. He also has fantastic stamina, which is a key attribute for any signing Klopp is going to make due to the high intensity and work rate expected.
The Schalke man was not handed a squad number at the start of the season after his move to Koln fell through because of a failed medical. Not the best sign when hoping for a dependable player and not for someone to add to the ever-growing injury list. However, he did enjoy a spell under Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, this could make the step into the first team a more natural move.
When it comes to successful transfers, buying from the league your in is usually a good approach. The depth of experience gained is valuable in providing consistency for your new club. Scott Dann is an example of this. He’s a Liverpool fan himself and after an impressive first half of the season with Crystal Palace could be on the wish list of many Premier League teams.