There are many new faces at Anfield nowadays. Liverpool FC manager Brendan Rodgers has embarked on a wild shopping spree since the sale of Luis Suarez. He has even bought Mario Balotelli — a transfer move bordering on desperation. Rodgers, however, has not been able to effectively address the team’s defensive woes yet.
Liverpool came dreadfully close to winning the Premier League title last season. They boasted the most dangerous strike force in the land. Led by Suarez and the prolific Daniel Sturridge, the Reds went on to score an incredible 101 goals. Their midfield wasn’t too shoddy either; Steven Gerrard, who provided 13 assists (highest tally in the league), was accompanied by the likes of Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho.
The Reds won most of their games by simply outscoring opponents. They scored 2.02 goals for every one they conceded. Fans could live with that, but things are different now; the team no longer has Suarez to make up for their defensive frailties. They simply cannot afford to let in 50 goals like they did last season, it’s hard to imagine them scoring 101 this time around.
Liverpool also made 13 mistakes, which directly led to opposition goals last season, second only to Tottenham Hotspur (21). Fans will never let Gerrard forget his costly slip against Chelsea, which led to Demba Ba putting the Blues ahead en route to a 2-0 victory.
The defense was a sore point all season long for Liverpool; they were up 3-0 and comfortable in a match against Crystal Palace but couldn’t hold on. They conceded three late goals and came out with just one point to show for all their effort. Suarez couldn’t hold back the tears when he realized they had probably thrown their season away.
The team has started off in the same vein this season, they have already conceded four goals in their first two games. They were painfully exposed by Manchester City; Stevan Jovetic scored a brace and Sergio Aguero breached their defense with a goal just five seconds after getting on the pitch.
In Rodgers’ defense (oops), he has spent money to augment his back line; Alberto Moreno, Dejan Lovren and Javi Manquillo have all been signed. The Reds have a bunch of decent defenders, and although they haven’t found a suitable replacement for Jamie Carragher, they should still be able to put up a solid wall.
Moreno showed good pace and skill on the offensive end against Man. City, but his defensive awareness was very poor. He was chiefly responsible for the first goal; he failed to clear a loose ball and allowed Jovetic — who had no business getting there — to pick it up and score. Glenn Johnson had a very poor game as well. He needs to do much better if he is to retain his starting spot.
Rodgers has the manpower, maybe his system is the problem. He needs to rethink his tactics and play a more balanced game. Even with Sturridge, Balotelli and Rickie Lambert, Liverpool will not go on to score as many goals as they did last season; if they are to remain in contention for the title, they should place more focus on the defensive duties.