Friday, August 19, 2022

Assessing The Options Jurgen Klopp Has At His Disposal To Solve The Defensive Issues For Liverpool

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Diptanil Roy
Diptanil used to be a columnist of The 4th Official. Knows German and not afraid to use it on you.

The significance of the word balance in life is often overlooked. Balance is required in every aspect of our lives and is much more important and necessary than excellence. The aforementioned outlook is a philosophical note to every man, from a toddler to Uncle Joe.

Football is a game that can be compared to the various aspects of life and uncanny parallels can be drawn. Take The Normal One or Jurgen Klopp as we know him, for example. The ferocious Liverpool football team coach could do with a little more balance to his team.

Ever since his early days at Borussia Dortmund, Klopp has been known for his heavy metal style of football. A certain attacking finesse complimented by an aggressive-minded team that can go on scoring goals and pass the ball around dangerously with a positive flair all day long.

His former team, Borussia Dortmund, surprised everyone in Europe and Klopp’s reputation preceded the German. It earned him a move to Liverpool where he brought in a similar mentality; aggression and a will to attack relentlessly.

He brought in players who suited his style of play and carefully moulded the ones already in the team to form an attacking team which can tenaciously break down rigid defences. His game was pleasing to the eye and earned him a certain name as the manager who will look to attack you regardless of the scoreline. And Liverpool did exactly that.

Focus was always kept on attack and the players from midfield to forward line excelled on the ball. Dispatching teams on their good days was a task they could do in their sleep. As the bar of excellence raised itself higher and higher in Liverpool’s attack, the defence had to pay the cost of negligence.

When Dejan Lovren was brought in from Southampton, he was a well reputed defender in the league. Alongside the young promising Joel Matip, the duo promised a solid centre back pairing. So why was it not surprising in the least to see Liverpool concede four against Tottenham at Wembley with Lovren committing childlike errors?

Well, the answer lies in balance. The Liverpool team is so heavily attacking minded, that nobody really likes to do the dirty job of winning the ball back. Without the ball, even though they play fast, their running around is rudderless.

Any team who wants to take out Liverpool needs to just sit back and hit them on the counter. It did help in Tottenham’s case having quality players like Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli as the counter attacking chiefs but Tottenham’s result is not a one off.

Any team can do that and smaller teams have done that, repeatedly against Klopp’s men. Heavy metal football with instruments of rubber is what Liverpool attack has been reduced to because of their shaky defence.

 

The lack of balance at the back is destabilizing the whole base on which the Reds midfielders and attackers can create havoc. It is not a question of personnel but rather of mentality for that backline. The team has to learn to play without the ball and without hounding in on the opposition like aimless bulls.

The very nature of the Premier League demands a rough tackling side, a well-disciplined and drilled side if you do not wish to concede goals. Liverpool at the moment are refusing to leave their Disneyland where they magically win the ball back without discipline and can play with the ball all day. Given Lovren’s current confidence, maybe a new defender would shake things up at the back but unless Klopp’s addresses the main issue of restoring balance to his team by teaching them the basics of defending and off the ball positioning, this team will continuae to concede silly goals.

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