Defensive fragilities have proved costly for Jürgen Klopps Reds this season and the recent home defeat to Crystal Palace, as highlighted the need for new recruits, writes Sam May.
Liverpool suffered a beggarly disappointing 2-1 defeat at the hands of Sam Allardyce’s Crystal Palace at Anfield on Sunday, a game they were expecting to win to help with Champions League qualification.
Dejan Lovren’s amateurish display, not just in the game, but throughout the season has proved he is not the required standard of a Liverpool centre-half and must be moved on in the summer.
But how could the Reds back four line up next season?
RB – Nathaniel Clyne
The 26-year-old has been a key player in the Reds backline and is expected to continue in his position next season. One of the first names on the team sheet, Clyne has made 37 appearances and contributed to three assists. Helping the Reds to two major finals previously, he is however expected to up his game, following Trent Alexander-Arnold’s rise to prominence, which has given Jürgen Klopp plenty of food for thought. A couple of mistakes against Arsenal and Burnley means his performances haven’t been up to scratch recently, so he will have to improve going forward.
Alternatives: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Lukas Klosterman (RB Leipzig) or Rick Karsdorp (Feyenoord).
CB – Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen)
The Reds should look no further than the colossus, Jonathan Tah. He is an outstanding defensive talent, who excels in all areas at the back; he’s a strong on the ground, dominant in the air and possesses an intelligent reading of the game. The 21-year-old is adept at one-on-one situations, and is able to utilise his strength to muscle attackers off the ball or shepherd them into less dangerous areas.
He has averaged 2.8 successful tackles per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga, with a success rate of 87.5 percent. He has also averaged 2.4 interceptions, 1.1 blocks and 2.1 headers won per 90, with his aerial success rate standing at 55.3 percent. He would be the perfect replacement for both Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren.
Alternatives: Joe Gomez, Davison Sanchez (Ajax), Michael Keane (Burnley) Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig) or Ezri Konsa (Charlton).
CB – Joël Matip
The transfer of 2016-17 season, free transfer Matip has been a rock at the back for the Reds since his arrival from Schalke. The 25-year-old has been a consistent figure and already become a fan favourite. He is no doubt going to be at the forefront of Liverpool’s defence next season. His pace and mobility means he has been able to work well for Klopp. Oozing in class, he is only going to get better and is already proving a bargain for the Reds. No team in the top seven has conceded more than the 42 goals the Reds have shipped in the top flight and with Matip and an excellent buy in the summer, the Reds will be expected to significantly reduce this.
Alternatives: Niklas Süle (Hoffenheim), Ben Gibson (Middleborough)
LB – Kieran Tierney (Celtic)
The Celtic left-back has shone under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers and is a target for many top Premier League clubs. Arsenal are keen on his services, but a move to the Emirates would be highly unlikely should the Gunners sign Sead Kolašinac from Schalke on a free transfer this summer. The future Bhoys captain, would be the ideal solution to the Reds full back problems. He is consistent, aggressive, and tackles effectively. He has made 12 assists and scored one goal for the Scottish Champions this season. With Alberto Moreno expected to leave in the summer Klopp should make a swift move for the highly rated 19-year-old.
Alternatives: Andrew Robertson (Hull City), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Jonathan Hector (Cologne), Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham) or Sead Kolašinac (Schalke, although expected to join Arsenal).