After spending some pretty inflated sums of cash in last summer’s transfer window, yet subsequently failing to witness much return on their new stars when it mattered out on the pitch – Brendan Rodgers and his determined Liverpool side truly had a campaign to forget last term.
2014/15 can largely be defined as an extremely disappointing season for the Anfield faithful. The Reds categorically failed to build upon the success Luis Suarez brought to Merseyside just the year before, they looked uncharacteristically slow in almost every aspect of their game – and as for Liverpool’s record in front of goal last season – perhaps the least said about that, the better.
With the likes of Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert seemingly finding themselves somewhat out of their depth at Anfield, Liverpool have nonetheless approached the 2015 summer transfer window with some pretty distinct striking goals in mind.
The ever-loyal Raheem Sterling may have already packed his bags for the Etihad this summer, yet as Roberto Firmino and Danny Ings have already put pen-to-paper on a contract at Anfield in recent weeks, Rodgers does in-fact seem to be addressing his side’s major issues in front of goal from last season.
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However, even though several other top talents in the striking department have been purposely sounded out for the Reds this summer – Liverpool still arguably won’t win anything in 2015/16 for one reason and one reason only…
…and that would be Brendan Rodgers’ increasingly questionable defensive back-line.
Let’s face it, if the Anfield faithful had paid witness to an improved defence back in 2013/14, Liverpool could have easily won the league that season.
Even when the goals seemingly couldn’t stop flying in for the Reds with the likes of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Coutinho all pulling the strings in unison – defensive calamities ultimately cost Brendan Rodgers’ side dearly that campaign, and stopped the club from becoming the formidable European force that their fans so desire.
Although some new attacking outlets will eventually have to be sourced for the Reds in the not too distant future, Liverpool must therefore learn from their past errors and prioritize their back-line before anything else this summer. If their fans get carried away with the potential signing of a player like Christian Benteke in the run up to the 2015/16 campaign without enough solid defensive strengthening, the immediate outcome will likely prove successful, but the long-term effect could be disastrous.
Whilst Reds fans have seemingly taken to his style and overall work rate in recent years, Slovakia international, Martin Skrtel, ultimately isn’t quite at the level Liverpool require if they really want to solidify themselves as worthy Champions League representatives. The fearless centre-back obviously isn’t scared of putting his head where it hurts – yet when it comes to concentrating solidly for the whole 90 minutes and keeping the back-line as tight as possible – Skrtel has simply proved himself to be an incomplete defender time and time again.
The same can also be said of the increasingly ageing Kolo Toure, and the obscenely expensive Mamadou Sakho – who have each failed to provide their team with much reliability at the back whatsoever. Both centre-backs frequently fail to relieve the pressure throughout the rest of the team thanks to their unpredictable style and less than convincing approach.
Perhaps that same ability to make mistakes at key moments managed to rub off on fellow Reds centre-back, Dejan Lovren, last season as well, seeing as the former Southampton man also largely fell short of his requirements throughout the 2014/15 campaign.
The Premier League now knows all about such players well enough, and if the chance to exploit their respective weaknesses crops up across the coming season, expect even the lower placed teams to attack the Liverpool back-line at full throttle.
Nathaniel Clyne’s recent addition to Brendan Rodgers’ squad nevertheless seems likes a sensible one – but as Liverpool seemingly haven’t managed to improve their centre-back situation since the powerful Daniel Agger decided to move back to Denmark last summer – Clyne won’t exactly strengthen up the Reds defence overnight, will he?
Therefore, even though a top striker would certainly be welcomed in at Anfield this summer with open arms to say the very least, Liverpool ultimately won’t look worthy of winning any silverware next season in their current precarious situation at the back.
No matter how optimistic certain Reds fans out there prove to be with every passing season, the club’s centre-backs at this stage of the game simply aren’t good enough, or reliable enough, to be trusted next term – regardless of how much money their initially cost Liverpool in the first place.