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Pundit’s Choice: Liverpool’s defence

Pundit’s Choice: Liverpool’s defence

Liverpool supporters have been pretty satisfied in recent times despite seeing their team’s 100% record in the Premier League come to an end on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp’s men went into their clash with fellow pace-setters Chelsea having won each of their first six league matches, yet having suffered a 2-1 defeat to the Blues in the Carabao Cup a few days earlier. And they looked set for back-to-back losses at the hands of the West Londoners as Eden Hazard gave them the lead at Stamford Bridge, only for Daniel Sturridge to produce a moment of brilliance late on to secure a 1-1 draw for Jurgen Klopp’s side, thus preserving their unbeaten start to the Premier League season.

Thus, there have been many satisfied Liverpudlians up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be interested in recent comments from Sky Sports pundit and ex-defender Phil Thompson, who has been having his say on the Reds’ upcoming clash with leaders Manchester City on Sunday.

The 64-year-old, who played over 450 times for the Reds during his playing career, was comparing the two teams’ defences ahead of Sunday’s crunch match at Anfield, from which he suggests that Liverpool’s is slightly better, stating: ‘I’ll nudge to Liverpool’.

And while acknowledging that ‘it’s a really tough question’, Thompson is spot on with his key verdict ahead of the meeting with the Citizens, what with City boss Guardiola seemingly still unsure exactly what his best back four is.

Ultimately, Klopp appears to have settled upon his best backline in the form of Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Trent Alexander-Arnold, with the quartet starting six of their seven Premier League games this term, in which time they kept three clean sheets and shipped just three goals.

And given where they were little over 12 months ago defensively, in that they seriously struggled to keep oppositions out and keep things tight, it has been a remarkable transformation by Klopp and his side, with the Reds now arguably one of the best defences in the division.

And much can be said for continuity, especially in the heart of the backline, as although Dejan Lovren has returned from injury in recent times, Klopp kept faith with Gomez alongside van Dijk against Chelsea at the weekend, and both men delivered another solid display.

Yet Guardiola hasn’t been as consistent with his defensive selections so far this season, with January signing Aymeric Laporte the only centre back to have started all seven Premier League games this term, with John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi starting three and Vincent Kompany two.

The most significant difference though appears to be at left back, as although Robertson has the Liverpool spot nailed down, the injury to Benjamin Mendy, like last season, has given Guardiola something major to think about.

The Frenchman started their first four league games but a foot injury has ruled him out of the last three, forcing midfielders Fabian Delph and Oleksandr Zinchenko to deputise in that position, to varying degrees of effect.

And with Laporte starting there in the 2-1 win at Hoffenheim on Tuesday, it very remains to be seen who Guardiola plumps with at Anfield on Sunday – either way, Liverpool are sure to target that side of the pitch.

Thus, Thompson is right to suggest that Liverpool are ‘more settled’, which brings advantages which are clear for all to see, and as such is spot on to ‘nudge’ to Klopp’s men in terms of the better defence ahead of Sunday’s mouth-watering clash at Anfield.

Liverpool and Man City fans… what do you think? Let us know!

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