Liverpool’s #1 problem position that must be sorted this summer

After two consecutive defeats against top four rivals, Liverpool look set to miss out on Champions League qualification for next season and will need to regroup in the summer.

The Reds’ slow start to the campaign has played a significant role in the team falling behind in the race for the top four, with it fair to say that the Merseysiders were in a state of transition following the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona and a host of new signings.

With Steven Gerrard leaving Anfield this summer and new faces expected to join the contingent, Brendan Rodgers will hope for a more positive start in 2015-16.

Although the Northern Irish manager will have a number of positions that he will want reinforcements in, one stands out above the rest.

Liverpool have been in great form since switching to Rodgers’ bespoke 3-4-3 formation, but right wing-back has been an area of concern and constant questions.

A lot of different players have filled the position, with no consensus on just who should be the first choice.

The role seems idea for attacking full-back Glen Johnson, but the veteran has seemingly fallen out of favour and will leave Merseyside this summer after his contract expires.

Jordon Ibe was recalled from a loan stint at Derby mid-way through the campaign and operated with aplomb in the fairly new surrounds of right wing-back.

Injuries have robbed the Reds of their young star in recent weeks but there is every chance that the teenager will be first choice upon his return.

However, in the long-term it remains to be seen just where the best position for Ibe to play is, with an argument that he could follow in the footsteps of Raheem Sterling and operate in a more attacking, central role.

Sterling started the defeat to Manchester United at right wing-back but was largely ineffective and uninterested. Any chance the Anfield side have of convincing the 20-year-old that his future is at Liverpool surely depends on playing him in his preferable position.

Jordan Henderson, always willing to fill in where needed, started the game against Arsenal in the problem position but this again robbed the Reds of their best central midfielder in the core of the team.

As a result the Gunners won the midfield battle, with the game over as a contest by the time Rodgers could switch his tactics to remedy the issue at half-time.

Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic have also fit in at right wing-back, but their natural instincts to create and get involved in the final third are inhibited as a result.

Ibe seems like the closest fit to a consistent option at right wing-back, but whether Rodgers envisages the youngster’s future in this position or not, Liverpool need an extra option in the role ahead of next term.

Alberto Moreno has had an inconsistent campaign on the other flank but will improve as he acclimatises further to English football.

In the meantime the Reds need another comprehensive option on the right-hand side if Rodgers’ preferred formation is to lead the club back amongst European football’s elite.