Liverpool have played and attacked their way into the final of the UEFA Champions League. The Anfield outfit look seamless on the ball and are irresistible when they get into a rhythm. Upon his arrival, Jurgen Klopp brought with him his trusted and well-established ploy of “Gegenpressing” football. This particular tactic needs a team to play at great tempo as they seek to regain possession of the ball immediately upon losing it rather than re-structuring their backline.
While Klopp popularly quoted his style of play, as “heavy metal football”; this approach has plenty of downsides as well. The first and the foremost is the lack of structure of the team immediately after they have lost the ball. The players do not return to their allotted defensive posts but charge forward in a Hail Mary. This means that should the ball make its way past the midfield into Liverpool’s backline, the defenders are caught off position thereby making them vulnerable to the simplest of attacks.
While Klopp’s men are a treat to watch when attacking, their defense has committed several howlers leading everyone to question Liverpool’s defensive frailties. As is the process with today’s media hype, solutions have poured in on how to secure the backline and the most popular panacea it would seem was to get an established centre-back.
It led to Liverpool hunting for a defender in the market and after months of conflicts with Southampton, the Reds managed to land their top target, Virgil Van Dijk this January. The defender underwent a medical soon after agreeing to personal terms on a contract until 2023 worth in the region of 180,000£-a-week. The Dutch defender is graceful on the ball and has a towering presence in the box owing to his height and great aerial prowess. He also has a knack for the spectacular; something proving to be popular with Liverpool’s flamboyant German coach.
However, Van Dijk will not be able to solve the backline problems. This has led to reports believing that the Reds are in the market for another defender in Newcastle United’s Jamaal Lascelles. The English defender is another player with great physical ability and also the style to move with the ball.
He would be a perfect addition to Jurgen Klopp’s side next to Van Dijk should they get him on board. His natural leadership abilities will give Liverpool a captain at the back as well and with a better defence, it can be expected that the Reds will challenge for the league title as well next season.