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Liverpool: Emile Heskey not worried about Reds’ defensive decline

Liverpool: Emile Heskey not worried about Reds’ defensive decline - Liverpool

Former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey believes that the Reds don’t need to worry unduly about their lack of clean sheets this season so long as they can keep scoring at the other end.

Jurgen Klopp’s men go into tonight’s Merseyside derby eight points clear at the top of the Premier League with only two points dropped all season, but they have not kept a clean sheet in their last 12 matches in all competitions.

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Every visiting team to Anfield so far in 2019/20 has left with at least a goal to their name, with Wolves the last visitors not to score back in May.

Despite that unenviable statistic, Heskey thinks that Liverpool’s enterprising style of play is worth sticking with so long as they are scoring enough goals to win games.

He told the Evening Standard (on behalf of GentingBet): “They’re a very attack-minded team, so sometimes you can be left a little bit light at the back as well.

“You can have one full-back crossing the ball and the other having a shot in the same move. When we were playing, it was generally when one attacks the other one covers round and helps out.

“It is great to see and great to watch for spectators and they’re still getting their goals, so they’re doing something right.”

Heskey makes some good points about Liverpool’s open style of play this season, especially in relation to the full-backs.

Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson have been involved in 14 goals between them already this term, with a goal and six assists for the former and two goals and five assists for the latter. [via TransferMarkt]

Going back to last month’s win over Manchester City, the full-back duo combined in the build-up to Mohamed Salah’s goal, with Alexander-Arnold’s cross-field pass picking out Robertson, whose cross was headed to the net by the Egyptian forward. [via]

Also, as Heskey has said, the Reds haven’t forgotten how to score – they have 32 goals in 14 Premier League games going into tonight’s derby against Everton, the third highest tally in the division and an average of 2.29 per game.

It is only slightly less than the 2.34 per game average they managed with 89 league goals last season and an improvement on the 2.21 per game average from 84 goals in 2017/18.

Heskey’s comments about Liverpool being “great to watch for spectators” might not click with any Reds fans who fear for the team defensively, though.

With 12 goals conceded in the Premier League, they are already more than halfway to last season’s excellent total of 22.

Also, having kept out the opposition in 21 league matches in 2018/19 (55.3% of games), Liverpool have managed only two clean sheets from their first 14 league games this season (14.3% of games). At their current rate, they will end the campaign with only five clean sheets in the league.

While Heskey makes a fair point about the Reds’ goal-scoring ability, his dismissal of their drastic defensive disimprovement seems frivolous given the worrying rate at which Klopp’s team have been shipping goals.

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Article title: Liverpool: Emile Heskey not worried about Reds’ defensive decline

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