As the 2017-18 football season approaches, it becomes more and more important for Liverpool to strengthen their defence. Before the big kick-off, it’s worth looking over Liverpool’s defensive landscape.
Starting from the very back, the goalkeeper. The current three options being Mignolet, Karius and Ward. The status of Mignolet and Karius remain the same, as can be read here, but Ward is becoming more of an exciting option. In the championship, out of the 43 matches he played for Huddersfield Town, Ward was able to keep an impressive 12 clean sheets. With being able to accomplish that, the 24-year-old Welshman may well be able to play for Liverpool in the Premier League and given that Ward will no longer stay at Huddersfield, that is a definite possibility. Mignolet has been quite good though and Karius still has potential, so it may be best if Ward goes out on loan once more to play more games and develop further.
The full-backs last season were very impressive. Clyne played well week in and week out, and perhaps was the most consistent player for Liverpool. One may imagine that the 26-year-old Englishman has a bright and long future ahead of him at Liverpool. Milner was a pleasant surprise, even though he has played most games of his games for Liverpool in midfield, this year he has made the switch to left-back. This may seem as if the full-back situation has no issues but that is not the case. Having not so much experience in the left-back position, it is hard to imagine that Milner can have as good of a season as he had last year. It surely is better to have a left-back who is well experienced in that position, so Milner can both play in the midfield and also play as a left-back if need be.
Last year, the centre backs were at times great but they were also at times dreadful. Matip is a player that seems to be the perfect fit for Klopp’s Liverpool, being a good centre back who can pass the ball well, and at times, he makes good runs up the pitch. With him training more and more, he will undoubtedly fit into the defence well next season, meaning exciting things to come from him to be quite likely next season. Lovren, similarly to Matip, fits Klopp’s system and defence well and will hopefully improve more and more as the season goes on.
In contrast, Klavan and Lucas did not have good seasons, with the former being 31 years of age and the latter being 30 years of age, their skills may well be declining. Therefore, it is necessary for Liverpool to sign more centre backs to fill in that void. van Djik, a defender who played very well last season, having an average match rating of 7.43 in the premier league, may seem like a good signing for Liverpool and there have been a lot of rumours that he will go to Liverpool this summer. However, Southampton have made it clear that he will not be transferred this transfer window. This clearly means that Liverpool will be forced to look for other centre backs to sign other than van Djik.
Though the defence is not looking amazing at the moment, it certainly is not absolutely terrible. There are still weeks to go until the premier league kicks off, so there is plenty of time for Liverpool to rectify their defence, which would give them a great chance of doing very well next season.