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The case for the Defence - by John Brennan

A year ago, almost to the day, I wrote a fairly sardonic piece (yeah, I know, it’s a pleonasm as far as I’m concerned) called “The case against the defence”. The general gist of it was our weakness at the back would, ultimately, cost us in the long run.

 

I ended the piece by writing this: “This is something that can only be solved on the training ground. Thing is, two full years into the job, I’m not sure I trust him (Klopp) to find the answers.”

 

We are a year down the road and while I’m not sure he has found all the answers, we’re a lot closer to where we need to be. Clearly, our defensive frailties have been improved by hard work at Melwood but especially by the quality of players Klopp has signed and/or brought into the team. I wrote that piece after the first game of last season where Watford – Watford! – had just put three past us.

 

Our back five that day was Mignolet-Trent-Matip-Lovren-Moreno. It wasn’t so much “We go again” as “Here we go again”! Outstanding attacking football would be worthless as we continued to leak goals.

 

In his first season we had conceded 40 goals in his first 30 games in charge, an average of 1.33 a game. In his second – full – season, with HIS men, we conceded 42 in 38 games, an average of 1.10 a game, an improvement, but still too many to be genuine title contenders. And now, three against Watford on the first day of the season. Back to our old ways.

 

Carra and Redknapp got into a bit of a shouting match at half-time that day, Redknapp claiming that Virgil could sort out our problems, while Carra was critical of the way we set up, saying our full-backs bombing forward left us exposed at the back. 

 

 

So, who was right? Well, they both were! Coaching AND great signings have come together to make us far more solid at the back. It’s probably taken a little longer than we would have wished – imagine if we had signed Virgil before the season started, but look at the back four we’ve got now!

 

Our first choice back four this season could be Trent-Gomez-Virgil-Andy. We had to pay big money for Virgil but Trent, Gomez and Andy cost £11.5 million between them. VIDIPRINTER ALERT: ELEVEN POINT FIVE MILLION POUNDS. For three players of that quality. That’s astounding in today’s environment!

 

Our full-backs are so much than defenders, though. Going forward, they are ace too, get crosses in, link up well on either side (Andy with Sadio and Trent with Mo) as well as doing the simple stuff at the back when called upon.

 

And as much as our full-backs support our frontmen, our frontmen support our full-backs too. The constant harrying and closing down by our front three clearly buys us time to set up at the back. Klopp has added Keita to the mix now, a box-to-box player whose presence should allow Hendo or Milner to concentrate on protecting our back four. You don’t get the feeling we need to score three or four to win these days. Two suffice. Maybe not one – we’re not at GH levels of parsimony yet!

 

Klopp is 108 League games in to his “reign”. In the first 54, we conceded 70. In the last 54? 50. In those first 54 games, we kept clean 14 sheets. In the last 54? 25. If we keep improving like this, who knows where we might end up…
 

John Brennan
@JohnAPBrennan


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We are the real deal now,United in crisis,spurs no investment this transfer window,don't see arsenal or Chelsea as a real threat.Man City are the team to beat and we have proved we can do that.

Iam very optimistic and excited about this season.

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"Klopp is 108 League games in to his “reign”. In the first 54, we conceded 70. In the last 54? 50. In those first 54 games, we kept clean 14 sheets. In the last 54? 25. If we keep improving like this, who knows where we might end up…"

 

If we keep up the stats of the last 54 games, and there is no reason to suggest that it wont even be better than that with Alison on board (and VVD would only have played in half of those) then we would keep 18 clean sheets this season. Bearing in mind we very rarely are involved in a 0-0 we could have 52-54 points from those 18 games. 

36-38 points across the remaining 20 games is not that much of a push. I think if the team get 90 points we will challenge City. If it's not enough then you have to hold your hands up 

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"Klopp is 108 League games in to his “reign”. In the first 54, we conceded 70. In the last 54? 50. In those first 54 games, we kept clean 14 sheets. In the last 54? 25. If we keep improving like this, who knows where we might end up…"

 

If we keep up the stats of the last 54 games, and there is no reason to suggest that it wont even be better than that with Alison on board (and VVD would only have played in half of those) then we would keep 18 clean sheets this season. Bearing in mind we very rarely are involved in a 0-0 we could have 52-54 points from those 18 games.

36-38 points across the remaining 20 games is not that much of a push. I think if the team get 90 points we will challenge City. If it's not enough then you have to hold your hands up

If my maths are correct we will concede around 14 goals in 20/21 season if we continue to improve at this rate. If we can't win the league conceding just 14 goals then I'm out.

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A year ago, almost to the day, I wrote a fairly sardonic piece (yeah, I know, it’s a pleonasm as far as I’m concerned) called “The case against the defence”. The general gist of it was our weakness at the back would, ultimately, cost us in the long run.

 

I ended the piece by writing this: “This is something that can only be solved on the training ground. Thing is, two full years into the job, I’m not sure I trust him (Klopp) to find the answers.”

 

We are a year down the road and while I’m not sure he has found all the answers, we’re a lot closer to where we need to be. Clearly, our defensive frailties have been improved by hard work at Melwood but especially by the quality of players Klopp has signed and/or brought into the team. I wrote that piece after the first game of last season where Watford – Watford! – had just put three past us.

 

Our back five that day was Mignolet-Trent-Matip-Lovren-Moreno. It wasn’t so much “We go again” as “Here we go again”! Outstanding attacking football would be worthless as we continued to leak goals.

 

In his first season we had conceded 40 goals in his first 30 games in charge, an average of 1.33 a game. In his second – full – season, with HIS men, we conceded 42 in 38 games, an average of 1.10 a game, an improvement, but still too many to be genuine title contenders. And now, three against Watford on the first day of the season. Back to our old ways.

 

Carra and Redknapp got into a bit of a shouting match at half-time that day, Redknapp claiming that Virgil could sort out our problems, while Carra was critical of the way we set up, saying our full-backs bombing forward left us exposed at the back.

 

 

So, who was right? Well, they both were! Coaching AND great signings have come together to make us far more solid at the back. It’s probably taken a little longer than we would have wished – imagine if we had signed Virgil before the season started, but look at the back four we’ve got now!

 

Our first choice back four this season could be Trent-Gomez-Virgil-Andy. We had to pay big money for Virgil but Trent, Gomez and Andy cost £11.5 million between them. VIDIPRINTER ALERT: ELEVEN POINT FIVE MILLION POUNDS. For three players of that quality. That’s astounding in today’s environment!

 

Our full-backs are so much than defenders, though. Going forward, they are ace too, get crosses in, link up well on either side (Andy with Sadio and Trent with Mo) as well as doing the simple stuff at the back when called upon.

 

And as much as our full-backs support our frontmen, our frontmen support our full-backs too. The constant harrying and closing down by our front three clearly buys us time to set up at the back. Klopp has added Keita to the mix now, a box-to-box player whose presence should allow Hendo or Milner to concentrate on protecting our back four. You don’t get the feeling we need to score three or four to win these days. Two suffice. Maybe not one – we’re not at GH levels of parsimony yet!

 

Klopp is 108 League games in to his “reign”. In the first 54, we conceded 70. In the last 54? 50. In those first 54 games, we kept clean 14 sheets. In the last 54? 25. If we keep improving like this, who knows where we might end up…

 

 

John Brennan

@JohnAPBrennan

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Certainly better than the load of fucking shite you wrote last September.

 

https://www.liverpoolway.co.uk/index.php/articles.html/_/fe/opinion/is-it-safe-to-come-out-yet-by-john-brennan-r1315

 

Just one paragraph in a sea of shit.........................

 

That’s the thing with the Cheerleader-in-Chief. Nothing sticks. Get beaten 5-0 at City? He has a built-in excuse with Mané’s sending-off. It would be cynical to suggest that was why he made such a big deal out of it, of course. Concede three at Watford? It wasn’t “that bad” and “too much was made of our defending”. Score on the counter-attack? Shout “That’s football!” at the crowd in a self-congratulatory manner. He’s above us all, isn’t he? The defence is just the on-field manifestation of this guy’s arrogance.

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Certainly better than the load of fucking shite you wrote last September.

 

https://www.liverpoolway.co.uk/index.php/articles.html/_/fe/opinion/is-it-safe-to-come-out-yet-by-john-brennan-r1315

 

Just one paragraph in a sea of shit.........................

 

That’s the thing with the Cheerleader-in-Chief. Nothing sticks. Get beaten 5-0 at City? He has a built-in excuse with Mané’s sending-off. It would be cynical to suggest that was why he made such a big deal out of it, of course. Concede three at Watford? It wasn’t “that bad” and “too much was made of our defending”. Score on the counter-attack? Shout “That’s football!” at the crowd in a self-congratulatory manner. He’s above us all, isn’t he? The defence is just the on-field manifestation of this guy’s arrogance.

I have to say, as you can tell from my replies in the thread itself, his previous article pissed me off. I had and still have no issue with people questioning the defensive record, the faults of the team, or even having a generally negative view; but his previous article is just disrespectful to and dismissive of Klopp, which I disliked a lot.

 

But we are down the road from that and this article is better, albeit I feel like there’s still a twinge behind it. But look, let’s see what this season brings. For me, Klopp has built a defensive unit to rival any other in the league. I do worry what will happen if VVD gets injured. I think, now Raggy has gone, we should look at getting rid of Matip and bring in a really solid player who can cover and lead.

 

Anyway, fairly quick video with some decent stats.

 

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=u_1TJgCgvpw

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I still think Klopp gets far too easy a ride from most of our fans. 

 

It's akin to hero worship! 

 

I'm still eager to see can he bring us some silverware. Time - this season notably - will tell.

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I still think Klopp gets far too easy a ride from most of our fans.

 

It's akin to hero worship!

 

I'm still eager to see can he bring us some silverware. Time - this season notably - will tell.

Three finals in two and a half seasons suggests that silverware is, y'know, a possibility.

 

Although you've got a good point about hero worship. The very idea that football fans would indulge in such a thing!

*drops monocle*

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Three finals is great, isn't it? Three defeats, not so much.

 

Football fans and hero worship? I take your (sarcasm-laden) point but there is scarcely a dissenting voice! This guy could win nothing this season and still be untouchable for many.

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Football fans and hero worship? I take your (sarcasm-laden) point but there is scarcely a dissenting voice! This guy could win nothing this season and still be untouchable for many.

Quite rightly. The positive direction of the club is so clear.

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Yep, things are positive, very positive even. I've said as much above: from day one to today, there is a world of difference and mostly all for the better.

 

But untouchable? 

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Yep, things are positive, very positive even. I've said as much above: from day one to today, there is a world of difference and mostly all for the better.

 

But untouchable?

Not untouchable but the best manager we could ever get under our financial circumstances versus the likes of City,United and Chelsea's riches. Our owners have actually spent a fair bit of cash but only because Klopp has earned them that cash while buying at flea markets v Harrods. Losing three finals hurts but after the likes of Hodgson and Rodgers this manager is on another plane altogether. Not bad for a 'cheerleader in chief.'

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I still think Klopp gets far too easy a ride from most of our fans.

It’s this type of phrasing that sets me on edge with you. What, are we supposed to be giving him a rough ride? Criticising everything he does without taking into account the climate he is operating in and the depth and strength of opposition he’s up against? What you call an easy ride, I call support. I’m not in the business of dragging down a manager, who is clearly improving the side, in terms of starting 11, squad, style, and results, season on season.

 

It's akin to hero worship!

What’s not to like? I mean seriously, what is there to be remotely pissy about? Unless the expectation is for no mistakes, nothing but complete perfection, I can’t see what more can be reasonably expected of the man. Two and a half seasons in to a full squad rebuild, from hanging around the top 10 to being legit rivals to the best team in Premier League history. Moan about lost finals if it makes you warm inside. Getting us there was a sign of overachievement, in my opinion. Losing to now triple winning European cup holders isn’t something to bitch too hard about.

 

I'm still eager to see can he bring us some silverware. Time - this season notably - will tell.

I think we’ve seen that he can get us into the position to win things, just as he did at his previous clubs, especially his last club where he picked up a group of average shite and turned them into a high quality double league winning side.

 

But I have to ask, what happens if we don’t win trophies this season or next? Who out there is going to be a better fit for the club? I keep hearing how he needs to win things. That’s obviously the aim of everybody, including the owners who have backed him and his methods, but what if City and Madrid with their decade of ultra spending pip us?

 

Who out there would increase our chances of winning, without restarting the project, without spending hundreds of millions? If there’s no answer to this, I think he’s about as untouchable as any manage in football.

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It’s this type of phrasing that sets me on edge with you. What, are we supposed to be giving him a rough ride? Criticising everything he does without taking into account the climate he is operating in and the depth and strength of opposition he’s up against? What you call an easy ride, I call support. I’m not in the business of dragging down a manager, who is clearly improving the side, in terms of starting 11, squad, style, and results, season on season.

 

 

What’s not to like? I mean seriously, what is there to be remotely pissy about? Unless the expectation is for no mistakes, nothing but complete perfection, I can’t see what more can be reasonably expected of the man. Two and a half seasons in to a full squad rebuild, from hanging around the top 10 to being legit rivals to the best team in Premier League history. Moan about lost finals if it makes you warm inside. Getting us there was a sign of overachievement, in my opinion. Losing to now triple winning European cup holders isn’t something to bitch too hard about.

 

 

I think we’ve seen that he can get us into the position to win things, just as he did at his previous clubs, especially his last club where he picked up a group of average shite and turned them into a high quality double league winning side.

 

But I have to ask, what happens if we don’t win trophies this season or next? Who out there is going to be a better fit for the club? I keep hearing how he needs to win things. That’s obviously the aim of everybody, including the owners who have backed him and his methods, but what if City and Madrid with their decade of ultra spending pip us?

 

Who out there would increase our chances of winning, without restarting the project, without spending hundreds of millions? If there’s no answer to this, I think he’s about as untouchable as any manage in football.

 

Quite agree NV, the whole atmosphere around the club is so much more positive and that's without looking at the actual players and style of football.

Last night on Sky's "debate" show, Stuart Pearce tiped us to win the League! Not second, he actually said he could see us doing it.

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Quite agree NV, the whole atmosphere around the club is so much more positive and that's without looking at the actual players and style of football.

Last night on Sky's "debate" show, Stuart Pearce tiped us to win the League! Not second, he actually said he could see us doing it.

I’ve never been one to overrated our league position because it always feels like three or four teams were better than us and we had weaknesses.

 

This year feels... right.

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