Football

Liverpool always getting killed by defence: Neville

Pundits slam Liverpool's defensive frailties after 4-1 defeat by Spurs

The Premier League's pundits largely rounded on Liverpool's defensive frailties after their 4-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Sunday, with Gary Neville saying the Reds defence "will always kill" their chance of success.

The former Manchester United and England defender told Sky Sports: "This team can be scintillating, but the centre backs and goalkeeper will always kill them, they are not good enough, they will always let you down...

"The ultimate for Liverpool is to win the Premier League and I think a couple of times in the last five years - particularly that season under Brendan Rodgers - they should have won it if they'd defended half-properly. They've conceded the most goals away from home in the Premier League this season. That's wrong...

"It's almost like Arsenal, where you keep seeing the same things, season after season. It's Groundhog Day."

Former Arsenal and England centre back Martin Keown summed up the Reds in his BBC column, writing: "That is Liverpool's big problem: they have lots of possibilities going forwards, but their defence does not always keep them in games long enough."

It is a sentiment echoed by former Liverpool and England midfielder Jamie Redknapp, who said he would be frustrated playing in front of the Reds backline.

He told Sky Sports: "Going forward, Liverpool are as good as any (team), but if I played in this team, it would drive me mad with the individual mistakes this back four makes...

"They are just not good enough, individually or collectively.

"It must drive the likes of (Philippe) Coutinho crazy because know they have to score three or four goals to win a game."

Redknapp might be on to something as Coutinho told ESPN Brasil: "The goals were goals that could have been prevented.

"It started out wide and we end up conceding one of those goals the manager speaks about. He speaks a lot about this - we've conceded a lot of goals like this."

Liverpool have now conceded 16 league goals - their worst statistics at this stage of a season since 1964 - and their manager Juergen Klopp said: "We have to prove we are better defenders than we showed today...

"It's an open race if you want - who shows me that he wants to play, who shows me that he's ready to show a reaction."

MISTAKE

Klopp singled out Harry Kane's opener, which came after a mistake from Dejan Lovren, as "bad, bad, bad defending" and said that even he could have prevented that goal had he been on the pitch.

Former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino added in his column in The Times: "Simon Mignolet and Dejan Lovren cost Liverpool the game yesterday with their errors...

"This has to be when Klopp admits that the fans and media were right and that he was wrong."

Manchester United goalkeeping legend Peter Schmeichel, however, felt that Klopp has been unfair on Lovren, whom he hauled off after 31 minutes.

Said the Dane: "What he's done now is put all of the responsibility on to Lovren. He will now be in the headlines for this, and that's really unfair. It should be the manager."

While it is Lovren and Mignolet who have taken the bulk of the blame, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson admitted that the whole team were poor against Spurs.

He told the BBC: "I think we didn't start well at all, so it's about being ready for the game - everybody, I know Dejan (Lovren) got took off early in the game but it could've been anyone of us that came off because it wasn't good enough."

So what is the solution for Liverpool?

Sky Sports pundits Thierry Henry and Graeme Souness believe that had Liverpool signed their key defensive target Virgil van Dijk from Southampton, the match may have panned out differently.

However, former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson told LFC TV: "I get this Virgil van Dijk all day long, but we need four of him." - WIRE SERVICES

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