Football

Liverpool's solid defence could inspire a top four finish

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Liverpool have experienced a lot of joy in attack over the past two seasons. The Reds have lit up the Premier League with their brand of attacking football led by Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez, but a constant problem throughout those times (and one that may have even cost the club title success) was their defence.

They threatened to put themselves on the road to success but failed to maintain it as a poor defence saw them concede goals that ultimately cost them key points.

This season, though still early days, has seen Brendan Rodgers introduce a slightly new back four that has helped Liverpool keep clean sheets in their first two games of the season.

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A duo of English summer signings in the shape of right-back Nathaniel Clyne and centre-back Joe Gomez, who's versatility sees him playing at left-back, sandwiches a familiar-looking centre-back pairing of Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren.

The four looked strong against Stoke City on the opening day as Clyne and Gomez made their competitive debuts for Liverpool. The former looked no different from his days at Southampton as he continued his style of pace on the attack and good awareness in defence.

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Meanwhile his fellow countryman Gomez, an 18-year-old, played like one of the more experienced defenders in the top flight. The former Charlton starlet has looked unfazed by playing in the famous red shirt of Liverpool and also put in a strong performance against Bournemouth.

His good reading of the game and calmness on the ball was well displayed on Monday night along with a couple of spicy tackles that saw him being yellow carded.

Centre-backs

Last year, Lovren was seen as the strong and commanding Jamie Carragher-like centre-back that Rodgers had been looking for since the retirement of the Liverpool legend.

Although many tipped Lovren to live up to expectations, it went horribly for him as he failed to settle in to a back four that saw Liverpool continue to give away goals. This season, Rodgers has continued to put his faith in Lovren, who is the most expensive Liverpool defender of all time, and the Croatian repaid him with a strong and commanding display against Stoke.

Lovren kept his place in Monday's game against Bournemouth and, although Liverpool managed to keep a clean sheet, the 26-year-old looked rather troubled by the pace of the Cherries and there were a few nervous moments that may have reminded a few of last season.

His centre-back partner, the ever-present Skrtel, was also part of the action and apart from the defensive power that has seen his manager continually put his faith in him. The Slovakian will look to banish the defensive errors that have been on show in the past two seasons and improve on his exceptional aerial prowess that should see him add to his list of headed goals for the club.

Whether this defensive combination is the right one is still yet to be seen, one thing that has been seen is their impressive and disciplined performances in Liverpool's opening games, they are sure to be tested once again and it could get tougher this time as Liverpool face Arsenal at the Emirates next Monday.

Will the chosen ones succeed yet again for the Reds or are Rodgers' defensive woes just waiting to resurface? 

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Topics:
Football
Liverpool
Premier League

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