At Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp, the focus has always been kept on attack and the players from midfield to forward line excel on the ball. Dispatching teams on their good days is a task they can do in their sleep. As the bar of excellence raises itself higher and higher in Liverpool’s attack, the defence is paying 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 did this Liverpool pairing concede four casual goals against Tottenham at Wembley with Lovren committing childlike errors?
This team needs a defensive organization. Without the ball, even though they play fast, their running around is rudderless.
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. A defender who knows the basics of defending and off the ball positioning will help this team go a long way.
In light of such events, Dutch defender Virgil Van Dijk was the subject of a huge transfer speculation. Liverpool’s interest went overboard and the Reds had to end up apologizing for their unethical approach over the transfer. The news of Klopp’s meeting with the defender went public and the German had to apologize with Van Djik clearly unhappy over his failed transfer.
With Liverpool now shaky to renew their interest in the Dutchman and Manchester City also likely to join in the chase of Van Dijk, a new target in the form of Manuel Akanji has emerged for the Reds. The Nigerian born Swiss centre-back is a first-team player at Basel and has impressed everyone this season.
He joined Basel back in 2015 and at the age of 22 he has become a star in the Swiss Super League and has also starred in the Champions League for his team, notably churning out a great performance when Basel kept out Manchester United a few weeks back to win 1-0.
He is a regular at the club and at 1.87 metres cuts a tall burly figure. The centre-back is good with the ball and that makes him an even better prospect for Klopp and company. He, however, has a contract with Basel who are unwilling to sell, at least till next summer and Klopp might just have to wait until June to get his extra defender.