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.
“Dont know where he goes from here now” – Some Liverpool fans concerned about youngster returning from loan deal
Ovie Ejaria is set to return to Liverpool and end his loan spell with Rangers early. The club released a statement regarding the 21-year-old who scored two goals in 28 games for Steven Gerrard’s side. The release added this was the best move for all involved.
“However, following discussions between the two clubs, as well as Ejaria and his family, it has been determined an early return to the Reds is in the best interests of all parties concerned.”
The release thanked the Scottish giants for helping the 21-year-old Englishman, and it will be interesting to see what the next step for the youngster would be.
Ejaria is one of the highly rated players in our youth system but for some reason, things just did not work out for him at Rangers.
We have another star on loan at Rangers in Ryan Kent, and the winger has been doing pretty well at the club. Many Liverpool fans chipped in with their thoughts regarding the return of Ejaria, and here are some reactions from Twitter.
Decent player in there, wrong attitude
— Craigy 🇬🇧 (@CraigyC1872) December 15, 2018
Struggle to get near the first team. Technically very good. But went missing on several games in Scotland.
— Craig welsh (@welshy2686) December 15, 2018
Boys got bags of ability.When he’s in the mood he’s a joy to watch.Far too inconsistent and pushed off the ball easily.
— Blue (@jmcm1872) December 15, 2018
Bit worrying considering you know Stevie G would have given him a fair crack.
— Koda (@KodaK203) December 15, 2018
Welcome back lad!! Get back in the mix with 1st team #YNWA
— GeorgeDoors (@stardorman) December 15, 2018
Decent back up for the FA Cup, would rather Harry Wilson but we need all the squad depth we can get!
— James Taylor ❄️🎄🍺 (@Taylor28284) December 15, 2018
Couldn’t settle in Scotland. Feels Scot prem is levels below the English u23 development league
— Tony McKenna (@tmaclfc) December 15, 2018
Dont know where he goes from here now..
— The Donfather🇬🇧🏴 (@DougieDon1) December 15, 2018
Seems a decent kid but most of the games simply passed him by and I just can’t see him surviving at any high level of football. Good luck to him.
— FollowFollowGru (@FollowFollowGru) December 15, 2018
Xherdan Shaqiri shocks the Red Devils – Liverpool player ratings from 3-1 win over Man United
Liverpool 3-1 Man United: Shaqiri double seals the deal for the Reds
Sadio Mane got the opener but things took a turn when Alisson spilt a cross and Jesse Lingard scored in the first half.
The Reds dominated the game but things weren’t working. However, Xherdan Shaqiri came off the bench and scored a couple of deflected goals as Anfield went wild. This was a well deserved win for the Reds and here are the player ratings from the game.
Liverpool Player Ratings
Alisson – 6.5/10
The Brazilian looked alright with the ball at his feet but his mistake could have been huge had we not won the game. Alisson looked calmer in the second half and was barely troubled.
Nathaniel Clyne – 7/10
Got a start in the Premier League and did a decent job at the back. The Englishman could be a huge bonus for us in the remainder of the season.
Dejan Lovren – 7/10
It was great seeing Lovren not make any mistakes at the back, even though some of his passes weren’t the best.
Virgil van Dijk – 8/10
The Dutch defender did a great job at the back and was rarely troubled by the physical Romelu Lukaku.
Andy Robertson – 7.5/10
The left-back’s crosses weren’t the best but his energy down the flank was brilliant and he had a couple of crucial interceptions to keep United from scoring.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 7.5/10
Another regular Wijnaldum performance as he ran his socks off and kept things moving for the Reds.
Fabinho – 8.5/10
This was a fantastic performance from the Brazilian as he controlled the midfield and had a brilliant assist for Mane’s opener.
Naby Keita – 7/10
The Guinea midfielder was played on the left and did a good enough job with his running.
Sadio Mane – 8/10
The misses against Napoli won’t count for much now as he scored the first goal of the game. The Senegal attacker even set up the second goal, although there were a few deflections.
Roberto Firmino – 7.5/10
Again, the Brazilian was played behind Mohamed Salah but it didn’t matter as he put in a great shift by harassing the United players.
Mohamed Salah – 7/10
The Egyptian was marked well by the United defence but he kept on running, trying to create.
Xherdan Shaqiri – 9/10
What a substitution. The Swiss was the spark for the Reds in the second half and no one from Liverpool will care that both his goals came off deflections. He was quick on the ball on both occasions and made United pay.
Jordan Henderson – NA
Came on late to keep things calm.
“It was worth it” – Liverpool star’s verdict on Klopp’s £8,000 worth celebration against Everton
Alisson believes that Jurgen Klopp’s fine for his wild celebrations against Everton was “worth it”. Liverpool won the Merseyside derby, thanks to a 96th-minute winner from Divock Origi, and the goal was a little crazy too.
The ball came off the crossbar twice after Jordan Pickford failed to gather a sliced effort from Virgil van Dijk, and Origi nodded in the winner.
Alisson was celebrating in the middle of the pitch when Klopp ran out and hugged the keeper before continuing his celebrations in the dugout.
The keeper was speaking to the Times (h/t Express) as he described those moments:
“It’s hard to explain what was happening. It was at the end of the game, I was celebrating.
“Generally, I prefer not to celebrate too much so I can concentrate on the game and stay level-headed but the goal came at the end of the game so I could let it all out.”
The Brazilian couldn’t believe what the manager was doing, as he continued his celebrations before adding that the punishment was worth the madness.
“I ran to the middle of the field and did my usual celebrations, pointing to the heavens, thanking God, and then I looked to one side and I saw Jurgen and I thought, ‘What is he doing?’
“It was a great moment and I gave him a big hug. I appreciate it wasn’t the correct thing to do and he has been punished for that – but it was worth it.”
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