COMMENT By Dominic Toner
Liverpool’s weakness in defence is a sign that they will fall just short in their pursuit of the Premier League title.
The Reds are currently one point clear at the top of the table and have been the most impressive team going forward this season, scoring a league-best 30 goals in the opening 11 games.
In comparison, Jurgen Klopp’s side have conceded the most amount of goals (14) out of the top six teams.
The Merseyside club have kept just one clean sheet in the league this campaign and history shows that title winning teams are built on a strong defences.
Last season’s unlikely champions Leicester even showed a defensive resilience despite the attacking talent of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy.
The Foxes conceded just 36 goals on their way to the title and kept an impressive 15 league clean sheets, something Liverpool will surely have to go close to emulating.
The Reds are continuing to blow teams away with their impressive attacking talents but it is probable that over an entire season they will need to grind out results at some stage.
Recent league winners Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United have all been built on a solid defence and Liverpool are yet to find that base.
Klopp has settled on summer acquisition Loris Karius as his number one goalkeeper ahead of Simon Mignolet, but the 23-year-old is still adjusting to his first taste in the Premier League.
Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip are beginning a strong partnership at centre-back but need to start keeping clean sheets.
England international Nathaniel Clyne is a solid part of the team and is very attack-minded at right-back, but could focus more on his defensive skills to boost the team.
James Milner is the final part of the club’s defence at left-back and has been converted from a midfielder this season, with Spaniard Alberto Moreno deemed too risky by Klopp.
Liverpool have settled on their defence and now need to start keeping clean sheets to take the workload off their attackers, with Chelsea’s current five-game run of consecutive clean sheets setting a good bench mark.
Tottenham are another team who will want to challenge for the title and have the best defensive record in the league, conceding just six league goals.
In other Liverpool news, Stan Collymore claims this 26-year-old can become a very special player.