Finding the weak link: The loophole in Liverpool’s defense that needs attention

The current Liverpool squad looks strong in all aspects, from the defenders to the midfield and forwards. It is undoubtedly a squad built through hard work.

This season, Liverpool have played 13 matches and they have continued their unbeaten run with their win over the weekend against Crystal Palace. That leaves them an unbeaten run of 12 matches and one draw in 13 matches and that is beyond impressive.

This goes to show that the Reds have their eyes set on the league title this season and are making sure that nothing stands in their way of winning it. Looking back at how close they were last season, losing to Manchester City with just one point after trailing each other all season, the Reds have come a long way and this season, they are not leaving anything to chance.

Currently, Liverpool is top of the league with 37 points on Match Week 13, followed by Leicester City in second with 29 points, Manchester City in third with 28 points and Chelsea in fourth with 26 points. The Reds have been able to establish a comfortable lead.

As it is, Liverpool is ahead of Leicester City with eight points, Manchester City with nine points, and Chelsea with 11 points. Should they continue with their recent form, we might be seeing them winning the league comfortably before the end of the season. That is if the not-too obvious loophole in the Liverpool squad is not used against them.

The shaky right

After a late lucky winner against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, there was one thing that needed attention in the Liverpool squad and it was how the team performed playing on the right. The last two matches they played – one against Manchester City and another against Crystal Palace – became a near-total luck contrast of how the team could be better.

The weak link in that position had been James Milner who came in for Jordan Henderson in both matches. Liverpool noticeably looked shaky with the captain out and it reflected on the way they played, letting opponents take advantage of the loophole to use against them.

Jordan Henderson is a great asset on the right side of the pitch and it showed in the way he contributed to the team’s play. His intelligence and intensity both on and off the pitch made sure that Liverpool controlled the pace of the match.

It is safe to say he was diligent with his defensive work, winning tackles because he calculated well before going in for the ball. Let’s also not forget that he could have had a second assist in as many games, supplying a precise, slide-rule through ball to send Sadio Mané in on goal in the second half. This was why his space was void after his substitution against Manchester City.

Although, it was obvious that Milner was not at his best but it could also be argued that being thrown into the action late on in the match affected his performance. Then, it won’t be a case of Henderson’s absence on the pitch showing but that Milner simply found it hard to keep up with the pace of the game.

Conclusion

There are two possible problems in play which are whether the team are already used to how the starting XI plays that it is hard for a substitute to adjust or that James Milner finds it hard to adjust in his substitute role. Whichever it is, Jurgen Klopp will need to find a quick solution to it.