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Why copying Liverpool’s defence strategy is difficult for Manchester United or any other side – opinion

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Why United’s move for Harry Maguire was always destined to fail

Virgil van Dijk was the most expensive defender in the world and well, he did turn our fortunes around with some impressive performances.

From a leaky defence, we became the tightest unit last season, and that was the base for a fantastic campaign. The Reds were struggling at the back and landing Van Dijk worked out quite well, something which Manchester United did this summer.

The Red Devils splashed £80million on Harry Maguire to make him the most expensive defender in the world (h/t Express), however, things just haven’t worked out for them.

Michael Owen claimed that the move had failed since United didn’t have the same “calibre” of players as the Reds did (h/t Express). Maguire might be the most expensive defender in the world, but this move was always going to fail.

It isn’t only about the players at Liverpool

The Reds didn’t have the greatest set of defenders before Van Dijk’s arrival and his leadership qualities certainly have helped us at the back.

Things do look calmer here, but United also signed a quality right-back in Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the summer. They had decent options for the other spots while David de Gea is regarded as one of the best keepers in the world.

Virgil van Dijk

So why hasn’t it worked for them? And in all probability, it won’t work for others too.

It all goes down to the manager and the coaches we have. Take Van Dijk out of the defence and we have Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez as his partners.

Each defender has grown leaps and bounds under Klopp. Gomez was possibly the best centre-back last season before he picked up that fracture.

Matip came into his own during the second half of the previous campaign while Lovren was excellent in the 2-1 win over Leicester City.

Joel Matip scores against Manchester City

Our full-backs have been fine-tuned to fit into this system and they are possibly the best in the league.

Andy Robertson came from Hull City and took time to adjust to Jurgen Klopp’s demands. Trent Alexander-Arnold took time to become one of the most consistent right-backs in the league, and the pair is excellent when going into the attack.

It is true that our defence didn’t look that great when Van Dijk wasn’t around but the people behind the scenes also deserve credit for fixing things at the back.

Our entire system works together in getting the best out of the players and that is something which is not in place at most clubs.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer doesn’t have toplevel experience and even after splashing big on Maguire, they still have a lot of work.

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Liverpool, on the other hand, have been excellent in their transfers over the years and our players are improving with each season under Klopp and co.

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European outfit demand €25m for 21-year-old Liverpool target

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Sander Berge

Genk want €25m for Liverpool target Sander Berge

Sander Berge has been recently linked with Liverpool after featuring for Genk in the Champions League (h/t Express).

The 21-year-old Norwegian faced us twice in the Champions League and has also attracted the interest of other clubs.

La Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Calciomercato) claims that Napoli have made the 21-year-old their priority signing in the coming months.

Sander Berge
Sander Berge battles Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the ball (Image credit: Getty)

Napoli are facing a bit of a crisis in recent weeks with the players also facing off against club president Aurelio de Laurentiis.

Berge came through the ranks at Vaalerenga and moved to Genk in 2017. The Belgians have slapped a €25million price-tag on his head and the report claims Napoli will make a move in January (h/t Calciomercato).

However, due to Napoli’s asking price, Napoli might shelf their move till the summer (h/t Calciomercato).

Berge is also a regular for the Norway national team, and it will be interesting to see if he is on the move soon.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was seen speaking to the player after the Champions League clash at Anfield too (h/t Express).

Big decisions lie for Berge

Berge has to take the right decision regarding his future with first-team football a requirement too.

Napoli have done well in recent seasons despite making managerial changes in the past.

However, Liverpool have also handed chances to young players under Klopp, and we could do with more talents coming in the future.

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Liverpool have a couple of midfielders over 30 in Adam Lallana and James Milner and need to plan for a future without them.

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Boost for Liverpool as this defender’s knee injury might not be too serious

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Joe Gomez

Joe Gomez’s England injury isn’t considered serious after knee scan

Joe Gomez’s time with England during this international break was cut short after injuring his knee in an accidental collision.

The Liverpool defender has seen a lot happen over the past week at the Three Lions camp. He was involved in a bust-up with Raheem Sterling which saw a cut appear below his right eye.

Sterling accepted his mistake in the bust-up but there was more to come. The Liverpool defender came off the bench against Montenegro and was booed by some sections of the England fan.

Joe Gomez
Joe Gomez in action against Montenegro (Image credit: Getty)

Gomez has had a tough time with Liverpool too as Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren are ahead of him in the pecking order.

He did come on for the final few minutes against Manchester City, and we need all our players to be fit for the rest of the season.

Dominic King of the Daily Mail allayed some fears about the extent of Gomez’s injury.

The journalist tweeted about Gareth Southgate’s update regarding the 22-year-old and how it wasn’t serious:

Gomez’s injury troubles

The youngster has had his issues with injuries in the past too. Last season, the centre-back suffered a fracture in the win over Burnley and was out for almost six months.

His initial recovery didn’t go well and the youngster had to go under the knife. Liverpool had several problems in the centre-back spot then and fielded Fabinho in some games.

Joel Matip
Joel Matip has been excellent alongside Virgil van Dijk over the past 18 months (Image credit: Getty)

This season has also been tough on the defenders with Joel Matip suffering a problem too. The Cameroon centre-back hasn’t played for us since the 1-1 draw against Manchester United.

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That leaves us with just Virgil van Dijk and Lovren as the fit centre-backs, and hopefully, Gomez is not out for long.

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PSG want to pair this 19-year-old Liverpool target with Kylian Mbappe

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Jadon Sancho

Paris Saint-Germain enter the race for Liverpool target Jadon Sancho

Paris Saint-Germain have also entered the race for Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, according to the Express (h/t Daily Mail).

The report claims that Neymar could be on his way out of the French capital. PSG want to be at their best and are planning to pair Kylian Mbappe with Sancho (h/t Daily Mail).

Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho is a regular for the England national team (Image credit: Getty)

Liverpool have been linked with Sancho recently (h/t Liverpool Echo) and the player would not be available on the cheap.

Big price on Sancho’s head

The 19-year-old has taken the Bundesliga by storm since joining from Manchester City.

Sancho is now a regular for the England national team and has a couple of goals for the Three Lions in this campaign too.

The English winger can play on either side and has four goals and five assists to his name for Dortmund.

Jadon Sancho
Jadon Sancho joined Borussia Dortmund from Manchester City (Image credit: Getty)

However, Dortmund are open to an exit in the next summer and could sell him for over £100m (h/t Daily Mail).

Sancho has also been singled out for criticism in decent weeks by Dortmund. The winger was also been fined and dropped for the clash against Borussia Monchengladbach.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the English talent in the summer. Liverpool could do with more attacking options to provide competition and cover for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

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However, spending over £100m certainly is a big ask even if we have spent huge on Alisson, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Virgil van Dijk recently.

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