⛔️ Defence will be Liverpool's best way to attack the title

Logo: OneFootball


Joel Sanderson-Murray

With 13 points from five games, Liverpool have let the rest of the Premier League know they are not prepared to be title bystanders this season.

In three of those games, Jürgen Klopp’s side find the back of the net three times so scoring is clearly not going to be an issue.

However, the early indications are that this is going to be a title challenge built on solid defensive foundations.

Jürgen Klopp’s side have conceded just once in the league, when Kai Havertz headed home from a corner in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea.

The team are conceding just three shots on target per game and few of those are high-quality chances. Only Norwich City (1.81) have amassed an xG of above 1.00 against the Reds so far.

The long-term losses of Virgil van Dijk, Joël Matip and Joe Gomez were widely considered the reason behind Liverpool’s struggles last season.

Those injuries led to Nat Phillips – who had spent the previous season on loan in the 2.Bundesliga – and teenager Rhys Williams ending the season as the club’s most-used centre-back partnership.

However, something that was a weakness has now become a position of strength.

Van Dijk and Matip – the partnership that formed the foundation of the 2019 Champions League victory – are Klopp’s first-choice pairing, starting four of the first five games.

But then there is Ibrahima Konaté, the club’s only summer signing, who performed well on his debut in against Crystal Palace and has an exciting future ahead of him.

And there is also Gomez. Some supporters considered him a bigger loss than Van Dijk and yet he has managed to play just one minute in the Premier League so far.

Liverpool’s defensive success isn’t just about their backline, though, this is a team that functions as one in defence as well as in attack.

Klopp and his coaching staff set up this team to suffocate the opposition from the front, and if their opponents can bypass the high press from the attackers they have, in Fabinho, one of the most dominant midfielders.

The Brazilian was man of the match in the win over Leeds. He may have scored his first goal of the season in that win but it was his presence in front of the back four, where he adds an extra line of security, that impressed.

In his four appearances so far this season, he has won six of his eight attempted tackles this season, made seven interceptions and completed 22 recoveries.

It also helps that Alisson Becker looks as if he is recapturing some of his old form.

The 28-year-old produced two huge saves from Wilfried Zaha and Odsonne Édouard to keep Palace at bay and it can only help his team’s cause that he has 100% record when it comes to facing one-on-ones this season.

This year’s Premier League title race is building up to be one of the closely-fought in years.

If Liverpool’s defensive performance continues the way it has started then they will be there or thereabouts come May.