Liverpool’s defence came under intense criticism after Tottenham’s 4-1 thrashing of the Reds on Sunday, with several defensive errors contributing to the Merseysiders downfall. The most notable of these came from Croatian Centre-Half Dejan Lovren. With the 6’3″ Defender being subbed off for his poor performance just after the half-hour mark after making several high profile mistakes allowing Harry Kane and Heung Min Son to score for Spurs.
With Liverpool’s defensive frailties being somewhat of a reoccurring theme, many have been quick to point the finger at Jurgen Klopp’s defensive tactics and stubbornness when it comes to recruiting and dispatching of defensive personnel. I spoke to Dortmund and LFC Fan Critty Smith (@CrittySmith) to see if there was ever a similar situation at BVB and how Klopp dealt with it:
AL: As a BVB fan could you tell me if you had any defensive issues or issues with defenders when Klopp was in charge? (Like the Lovren and Mignolet Situation)
Critty: So, during Klopps time at BVB the defenders were far far better individually than what LFC have right now. We had a world class centre-half in Mats Hummels and also a very good (at that point) [Neven] Subotic,
along with Polish international Lukasz Piszczek occupying one fullback position and Marcel Schmelzer on the other. The communication between the players in the back line was far better than that of LFC currently and the positioning and understanding of where they needed to be to help out in the event of a loss of possession, or error by a teammate was far superior. Klopp certainly placed a focus on the offence but the BVB defence was far better put together at BVB under Klopp than at LFC currently. Things to consider though, Clyne is out, Lovren is shite, Matip has been terrible, Moreno/Milner etc… meh. I believe the reason BVB had a more solid defence under Klopp than LFC had was due to the quality of the individual players, not Klopp’s tactics per se.
AL: Okay thank you, Did you ever have any issues regarding players that fans knew just weren’t good enough but Klopp seemed to have faith in? Or did he get rid of any dead wood in the first couple of years?
Critty: He was loyal to “his players” back then as well, yes. He has always been this way, even going back to his time at Mainz 05. If he has in his mind that Firmino is starting over Sturridge, then so be it. He was the same at BVB, yes.
As we can see, Liverpool’s defencive issues may not be down to Jurgen Klopp’s tactics any more than it is down to the personnel. Dejan Lovren is nowhere near good enough to be starting, Joel Matip has been questionable of late, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold have both impressed but are both young.
So far this season, Alberto Moreno has been Liverpool’s best defender. Although he seems to be enjoying somewhat of a resurgence this season and is arguably playing the best football he ever has, it should still be a massive red flag in Jurgen Klopp’s mind. So where do we go from here?
Jurgen Klopp HAS stated his desire to take Lovren out of the firing line and give Joe Gomez an extended run at Centre-Back along with the addition of Loris Karius in goal, this will prove as an absolutely massive opportunity for both Loris and Joe to state their claim on a first-team spot for years to come. This would also mean the re-integration of Trent Alexander-Arnold at right back, with whom there won’t be any qualms.
✏️ Sam Booker (@KopDesigns)
A Massive thank you to Critty Smith 👏🏻