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Can Liverpool Still Win the Premier League With Their Defensive Frailties?

Liverpool

Liverpool are currently flying high and are 3rd on the Premier League table with the same 23 points as Manchester City and Arsenal and this has made to consider them as one of the strong favourites to win the league this season.

Jurgen Klopp has been able to transform them from md-table team to title contenders this season. It is only left for them to see if they can keep up with their current form and the demand of the game as the season moves on.

However, despite their impressive run of form and attack this season so far, there remains an area of the team which Klopp must do something about if they really want to end their 27-year wait for a Premier League crown, which is their defence. Their defence has been their undoing and it has been like that in the last three or four seasons.

The Anfield outfits boast of the worst defensive record for the most goals conceded in the top six of the Premier League and the joint second worst defensive record in the top half of the table.

Their defence denied them the title under Brendan Rodgers in 2013/2014 when they conceded an outrageous 50 goals despite scoring more than 100 goals as they finished second by two points. Likewise in 2014/2015 season, they conceded 48 goals which confined them to the sixth position and another 50 goals in 2015/2016 which saw finishing eighth while Leicester that won the league conceded only 36.

The Red Devils have conceded 13 goals in ten games this season, averaging 1.3 goals per match which doesn’t speak well of Klopp’s side defence. Conceding goals at this rate is alien to their title winning bid.

Leaking goals will definitely take its toll on the attack. Should this continue and at that rate, Liverpool would concede 49 goals for the whole season. And since the Premier League was reduced to 20 teams in 1995/1996 season, no team has ever won the league conceding such a huge number of goals.

The only team that has ever won the league conceding more than 40 goals in a season was Manchester United in 1996/1997 season. But they were only able to win it courtesy of a high number of goals they scored, 76 in that season, and that was even then. Liverpool can hope to emulate that United team also but it has not worked for them in recent seasons. They are already joint top-scorers with Manchester City with both having scored 24 goals so far in the league.

Liverpool has an exciting attacking line in the league; Daniel Sturridge (when he is fully fit), Roberto Firmino, Phillipe Coutinho and the addition of Sadio Mane from Southampton this summer. Not to mention other options up front like Divock Origi, Georgino Wijnaldum, Adam Lallana and Danny Ings.

But their defence has not been consistent and often times leave too much space behind. They concede easily on counter-attack. And it clearly showed again in their 3-2 win over Crystal Palace last weekend.

Unless Klopp finds a lasting solution to their defence frailties, their attacking efforts may be wasted again.

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