Liverpool certainly have got one of the most exciting attacks in the footballing world. Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane can rip apart any defence in the Premier League, and maybe even in Europe, as the trio set out to do more damage in the coming season.
The high spending in the summer transfer window has led to raised expectations and the possibility of a Premier League title charge is not far from what the Reds could achieve this season.
However, for all their brilliance in attack, the need for a sound defence is just as important to fulfilling our dream of picking up the Premier League title.
Attack wins games, defence wins titles
Jurgen Klopp has created something special at Anfield but while we marvel at what our attack does, our defence has started to take shape under the German too.
In his first season in charge, we conceded a total of 50 goals from 38 Premier League games. Granted, Klopp was not in charge for all the games as he replaced Brendan Rodgers at the helm.
The next season, we did perform better as we made it to the top-four of the league. However, we still conceded more than a goal a game and finished with 42 goals conceded from the 38-game season.
Interestingly enough, we conceded just one goal per Premier League game last season, making it 38 from 38. Of course, we also brought in Virgil van Dijk in the winter window and the Dutch defender did help us reach the Champions League final plus another secure another finish in the top-four.
Now, why is this so important in the grand scheme of things? Well, the champions of England normally conceded one goal or less per game on the way to the title.
They might not be the club with the best defensive record but keeping the goals down is just as important as scoring them.
The last three champions of the Premier League conceded merely 27, 33 and 36 goals. Goalscoring is not as important as Leicester showed in the 2015/16 season. The Foxes only scored 68 goals, the third-best in the division that year, but they had the second-best defence with just 36 goals conceded.
Even in the close title race of 2013/14, when Manchester City pipped us to the crown, we had scored over 100 goals in the league while City just bettered that by one goal.
Their defence though, conceded 37 goals while we let in 50. Our defence was the one reason why we failed to lift the title back then.
In fact, you would have to go back to the 2012/13 season to find the last champion to have conceded more than one goal per game. Manchester United did that by letting in 43 goals but they still won the title over City by 11 points.
Progress has been the key to Liverpool under Klopp in these three years or so. We have seen the side transform and rise from the ashes of Rodgers’ failings.
Now, we are standing on the cusp of something great with Liverpool and if the side can restrict the number of goals conceded, there is a real chance of us lifting the Premier League crown.
Liverpool star cuts short international duty after picking up rib injury
The report claims that the centre-back has returned to the club after being ruled out of the friendly against Belgium.
A statement from the Dutch team (h/t Liverpool Echo) said:
“After consultation, it was decided to use the player only for the game against Germany.”
The report adds that Liverpool will assess the injury, and we will then get an idea of the extent of his problem.
Van Dijk had a rib problem earlier in the season and was rested in our Carabao Cup loss against Chelsea. The Dutchman has been reliable at the back and is one of the best defenders in the Premier League.
Liverpool’s next game is against Huddersfield on Saturday, and it will be interesting to see who will play in the heart of the defence.
Jurgen Klopp can call upon Dejan Lovren or Joel Matip to partner Joe Gomez in the back as the match against the Terriers should not be the most difficult outing.
Gomez has been the other centre-back who has been brilliant for us this season and in all probability, Lovren should partner the English youngster.
Liverpool’s next tough game is against Arsenal on 3 November, and hopefully, Van Dijk will be fit for the clash at the Emirates.
“Exactly what I expected” – Liverpool’s summer signing opens up on his time at Anfield so far
Shaqiri also has a couple of starts to his name but is hopeful of more chances as the season is still in its infancy. The 27-year-old was speaking to Aargauer Zeitung (h/t Mirror) and added that he is waiting for his opportunity to shine.
“You don’t have to keep me happy.
“The process has worked well for me so far. Sure, every professional wants to play. I do too, but there are still a lot of games to come.
“On top of that, you just need to look and acknowledge what has been done at Liverpool recently. A lot of people did a good job.
“That’s why everything hasn’t been turned upside down overnight.”
The Swiss star was aware he would have to work hard to gain a foothold at Liverpool too.
“What is happening is exactly what I expected. I decided to move to Liverpool fully aware that I would have a harder time in a club of this standing than, for example, other clubs that tried to help me.”
Shaqiri has looked decent in all the games he has played and should get a few starts given we don’t face tough opposition in the coming weeks.
The Reds take on Huddersfield, Red Star Belgrade and Cardiff in the three games after the international break, and this would be the ideal time to start the 27-year-old.
Out of favour Liverpool youngster wanted by Everton – Toffees willing to let go of Turkish striker
The 23-year-old isn’t a part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans, as per the report, and Everton boss Marco Silva is interested in the Belgian striker.
Origi was on loan at Wolfsburg last season but failed to light it up at the Bundesliga club. The 23-year-old has had a tough time in recent seasons at Liverpool and hasn’t played a single minute for the team this season.
The report claims that Everton are open to letting Cenk Tosun move to Besiktas if they can sign Origi from Liverpool.
The Belgian was linked to a couple of clubs in the summer window but Liverpool didn’t sell him as they weren’t getting what they wanted for the striker.
With Daniel Sturridge back in form and Roberto Firmino leading the line, Origi would find it tough to get first-team minutes at Anfield.
We also have youngsters such as Ben Woodburn and Dominic Solanke trying to break into the first-team, thus adding more competition for the forward slots at the club.
It will be interesting to see if Everton follow up their interest in the winter window. There haven’t been many occasions of a player swapping clubs in Merseyside with the last one being Abel Xavier.
Origi does need to move away for more minutes on the pitch, and joining a new club should be his aim when the transfer window opens.
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