Belfast Telegraph

A case for the defence - Liverpool's rearguard against Leicester

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp felt "sick" due to his side's defending in Tuesday night's Carabao Cup loss at Leicester.

And he was unlikely to feel much better after the Reds' hard-fought 3-2 win against the same opposition in the Premier League on Saturday.

Here Press Association Sport assesses the Liverpool defence.


The old saying was true of Liverpool on a night when they continued to leak goals. It was the first time since 1965 the Reds have conceded nine or more goals from their opening three away games. They have conceded 10 - and it might have been more. Liverpool's defenders appear far more comfortable going forward. However, when the Reds attacked they were exposed to the counter and the pace of Jamie Vardy, in particular.


In four prior games this month, since August's 4-0 win over Arsenal, Liverpool had conceded 10 goals. Five of those came at Manchester City and two at Leicester in the League Cup. But the Reds have now lost just one of their last eight Premier League away games after the victory over the Foxes.


Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren were restored in the centre of defence, in a four-man backline with Joe Gomez and Alberto Moreno at full-back as Klopp made seven changes. Yet still the sloppiness persists and Simon Mignolet is hardly a reassuring presence in goal. Plus, for all the qualities of Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum, Liverpool do not have a midfield shield as selfless or physical as Manchester United's Nemanja Matic, Chelsea's Tiemoue Bakayoko, or Fernandinho of Manchester City.


Vardy's pace was a potent attacking weapon when Leicester won the title, so it was hardly a secret. Matip, though, struggled time and again to keep up and was booked late in the first half for clumsily tripping the England striker. Vardy also caught Mignolet as he delayed over a clearance in one of a number of self-inflicted problems for the Reds. Moreno gave the ball away to Riyad Mahrez 30 yards from goal and Okazaki won the ball in the air on one occasion, albeit he was offside, before Mignolet saved on to Vardy's head, resulting in a goal, and then felled the England striker for a penalty which he saved.


The game showcased the best and worst of Mignolet: some fine saves and some woeful passing. The Belgium goalkeeper is clearly an outstanding shot-stopper and expert at facing penalties - he has saved seven of the 15 he has faced in the league since joining Liverpool in 2013 - but his team-mates will hardly be inspired by his performances when he is prone to errors time and again. If Klopp drops Mignolet again, then surely his confidence will not recover. But stick with him and the errors are likely to continue. The Reds boss has a big decision to make.

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