Having now played 34 games in the Premier League, Liverpool have kept a total of 15 clean sheets. That is more than every other club in the Premiere League except Manchester United who have kept 16. The same Liverpool who couldn’t close games; the same Liverpool who surrendered big leads in; the same Liverpool who couldn’t play the bottom half teams; this same Liverpool now looks more defensively secure than they have in since the turn of the decade.
Ever since Jurgen Klopp took over he has slowly but surely transformed the Liverpool defence. The Liverpool defence, which started Klopp’s first game in charge of Liverpool, differs vastly from the side that shut out Manchester City Last week. Understandably, this improvement in defence is a team effort. However, it is safe to say that the addition of Virgil Van Dijk has certainly galvanised the defence. Ever since the arrival of the 75 million pound Dutchamn, the Liverpool defence has looked rock solid and impenetrable at times. He has been commanding and a loud presence on the field. He makes those around him feel at ease and has improved the form of his fellow defensive partner Dejan Lovren. Additionally, over the last few months Liverpool fan have also seen a massive improvement in the form of Loris Karius, Trent-Alexander Arnold, Dejan Lovren and most noticeably Andrew Robertson.
Loris Karius who had a rather disappointing debut season for Liverpool was reinstated as Klopp’s no.1 in goal at towards the end of 2017. Ever since he’s hardly put a foot wrong and has been a commanding presence in the box.
After news of Nathaniel Clyne’s prolonged absence broke out, Klopp decided not to invest in a right back. He chose to place his faith in youth and entered the season with Joe Gomez and alexander-Arnold as his right back options. And how both of them have delivered. Joe Gomez up until his recent injury on international duty has been fantastic option at right back. While Trent Alexander Arnold has had an amazing break through season himself. He saw off Leroy Sane over both legs in the Champions League this past week.. If rumours are to be believed the pair will be rewarded with new contracts sooner rather than later.
Lastly, Andrew Robertson who was brought in for 8 million from Hull City has been a revelation as Liverpool have finally found themselves a Left back who will deliver defensively. Despite Alberto Moreno starting off the season for Klopp, his injury paved the way for Robertson who has since been a consistent performer in the rejuvenated Liverpool team.
Another notable improvement has been Jurgen Klopp’s ‘Game management’. In the second leg versus Manchester City at the Etihad, Jurgen Klopp moved Sadio Mane out to the right and played Salah through the middle while Firmino was pushed out left. Sadio Mane tracked back more than Salah and this change-helped alexander Arnold deal with City’s additionally attacking threat as they attempted to overcome a 3-0 deficit. Regarding the league, Liverpool dropped a total of 10 points form winning positions in the first half of the season. However, since the turn of the New Year they’ve only dropped two points. A majority of the praise naturally goes toward Van Dijk, who has been a massive presence on the backline. He brings direction and calmness to a defense, which previously lacked confidence and was extremely indecisive.
The departure of Coutinho is another factor, which has resulted in a more shielding Liverpool midfield rather than one that can be split open quite easily. The Liverpool midfield is now much better balanced. Jordan Henderson, Gerogino Wijnaldum, James Milner and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain have all delivered in every position across the middle three when called upon.
Overall, Jurgen almost has his ideal midfield and defense. The club is consistently linked with Defensive Midfielders such as Ndidi, Jorginho and Doucoure. Along with the pending departure of Emre Can and arrival of Naby Keita, Exciting times lie ahead for what could be one of the greatest Liverpool sides in recent years.