Liverpool need to address full-back issues

Liverpool need to address full-back issues

Liverpool have somehow managed to time and again overlook their weaknesses in the transfer windows. The issue of a proper defensive midfielder missing from the club is testament to this problem persisting at the club.

By the looks of it, Liverpool are set on following the same trend and seemingly, no new full-back additions have been made.

livfb

Liverpool currently have Alberto Moreno as their primary left-back, someone who could be John Arne Riise one second and Jose Enrique the next. Brad Smith isn’t the ideal cover for a side competing for top 4 and while Jon Flanagan and Joe Gomez can also play that position, Liverpool shouldn’t have to rely on players playing out of position, unless there is a suspension or injury issue.

On the right side, the problem is not that dire with Nathaniel Clyne the first choice right-back. Clyne was one of Liverpool’s most consistent performers last season. He does, however, lack on the offensive side of things but is generally a very composed and reliable on the flank.

It cannot be refuted though that Clyne was massively overused last season. Not having an able back-up, with Gomez injured and Flanagan only returning later, the former Southampton player had to feature in almost every game. Clyne is young at 25 but playing every game 52 games a season can naturally affect the quality of those performances. Once again, Gomez’s primary position is not on the flanks and Flanagan, quite frankly, is not up to the mark. Connor Randall was used by Klopp and while it was encouraging to see an academy player get a chance, Randall hasn’t shown enough to warrant a push to the squad right now.

The problem on the left is worse and needs to be addressed immediately. Liverpool need a left back who can create chances and offer a goal threat, but importantly, be able to defend.

Last season, Liverpool squandered 19 league points from winning positions, which goes on to say how fragile Liverpool were defensively. And this was with Jurgen Klopp tightening the screws at the back and making the defence stronger than before.

It would be unfair to say the defence — and Moreno — has got all the able support and protection from the midfield but the kind of individual errors made have often been downright ridiculous and not ones you expect from players representing a club aspiring for Champions League football.

Ben Chilwell has been the player linked consistently which can be evidenced by the club’s £7m bid for the Leicester left-back. The bid was rejected with the Premier League champions holding out for more money and Liverpool were reported to switch their attention to Hull City’s Andrew Robertson.

Both Chilwell and Robertson are young, promising left-backs who could be bought for a relatively cheap sum. However, these won’t necessarily be upgrades on Moreno.

The point of adding another left-back in the club’s arsenal is so that there is so that he can give the Spaniard competition for the first-team’s spot, possibly replace him with time. Moreno would be a solid option to have in the team as a back-up; he has made too many crucial mistakes on way too many occasions in the last two seasons, which make him a calamitous outlet on the field, a less scary Simon Mignolet if you will. His outing against former club Sevilla in the Europa League final defeat almost single-handedly wrecked Liverpool’s chances of victory that night.

Since arriving at the club in 2014, Moreno hasn’t faced any genuine competition for his place in the starting eleven, which means that the player has the choice of getting complacent. It must be noted that most of Moreno’s best performances for Liverpool last season came immediately after he was reinstated in the starting eleven courtesy an injury to Joe Gomez, where he felt he had to prove a point.

Chilwell and Robertson, as mentioned before are both talented players, but Liverpool need a more experienced player who can come in and seriously challenge Moreno straight away. Jonas Hector of FC Koln would fit the bill but the hopes of landing the German international were recently squashed. Liverpool need to regroup and target someone similar: experience and ability are both crucial.

The right-back spot is not an urgent but an equally important need to address. Clyne needs proper support for the position, and this shouldn’t be overlooked as well. However, juxtaposed with the left-back dilemma, this spot isn’t one Klopp needs to get worked up over. There are fewer games and the likes of Jon Flanagan, Joe Gomez and Connor Randall can deputize in cup matches. If there is an injury crisis, things might get complicated.

Big money will continue to be spent on attackers like Sadio Mane, but Liverpool most seriously require defensive reinforcements as Klopp needs to make the Reds a non porous side to get close to competing at the highest level.