By support

12th Dec, 2016 | 6:30am

Shearer leaps to defence of under-fire Liverpool player, names two underperformers

By Harvey Byrne

Alan Shearer has leapt to the defence of under-fire goalkeeper Loris Karius and  claimed that Liverpool will only win the league if they improve on their defence as he criticised Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip.

The Reds have conceded 20 goals from 15 fixtures this campaign, which is the second worst tally in the Premier League’s top 10.

They have also conceded six goals in their last two matches, bringing a lot of criticism to goalkeeper Loris Karius.

However, Match of the Day pundit Shearer believes the goalkeeper deserves some slack, playing behind a poor defence.

“Re. Karius he’s a young guy coming into the Premier League,” started Shearer speaking on Sunday’s Match of the Day 2. “Yes he has made mistakes, but you’ve also got to look at the guys in front of him, who are not giving him anywhere near enough protection at all.

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“I mean Lovren and Matip today were so poor and we all know what Liverpool’s issue is. They’ve conceded 20 goals this season. Only Watford have conceded more in the top 10 and we said it earlier on in the season, unless that improves rapidly then Liverpool will not win the league.”

Despite the club’s frailties at the back, Liverpool are currently sat in a strong third place.

They are three points behind second placed Arsenal and six points off league leaders Chelsea, while also four points above Tottenham in fifth.

They have important fixtures coming up in the next week with a winnable clash coming up against Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium before a clash at Goodison Park against local rivals Everton a week on Monday.

The Merseysiders will be eager to win their first ever Premier League title, but their main focus will be on becoming a consistent top four team again.

The English giants have finished in the Champions League spots just once in the last seven years, which is not acceptable for a club of Liverpool’s stature.

In other Liverpool news, an injury to Coutinho has presented a great opportunity to this Reds star.