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The enigma that is the Liverpool defence


After two good results off the back of the international break, drawing 0-0 at home to Manchester United and beating Maribor away 0-7, things were starting to look up for Liverpool Football Club. In a spectacularly Liverpool fashion, they came crashing back down last weekend.

An away tie to Tottenham was a perfect opportunity to get some points on the board and to get a win over a direct rival for the Champions League places. That perfect opportunity lasted all of four minutes.

A ball was flicked over Dejan Lovren's head to the in form Harry Kane, and the Liverpool defender was slow to react and somewhat bemused at a lack of an offside call. It transpires that right back Joe Gomez had failed to push up and had played Kane onside. Still, Lovren was slow to react and Simon Mignolet needlessly came rushing out and flying past Kane, who was left with an easy finish.

Tottenham's second goal saw a massive over compensation from Lovren, who lunged at a long ball only for it to sail over his head. Joel Matip left Kane to run down the wing and Son's pace was too much for the chasing James Milner, and it was Son who bagged the second.

Liverpool managed to get back into the game, thanks to a delightful ball from Jordan Henderson and a scruffy- but welcome- finish by Mohamed Salah.

Dejan Lovren was unceremoniously hooked after half an hour, being replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Joe Gomez slotted in at centre back, and Emre Can dropped back to right back. Whilst Lovren had departed the pitch, Liverpool's defensive troubles hadn't, as Dele Alli was allowed a simple volley thanks to a poor Matip header. Harry Kane added the fourth when Joe Gomez was unable to get tight enough and allowed the striker too much room.

Post match, Dejan Lovren shouldered all the blame. Manager, pundits and fans alike slaughtered the Liverpool centre back for his performance. There were calls for a new centre back pairing of Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, in an attempt to shore up Liverpool's back line.

The reality is that none of Liverpool's centre backs have impressed this season. One or two games aside, both Lovren and Matip have been shaky, and Ragnar Klavan has been poor. Him being overlooked when Lovren was substituted on Sunday speaks volumes. Even when Joe Gomez was moved to centre back against Leicester in the League Cup he wasn't faultless, and was in fact largely to blame for one of the goals, once again failing to push up with the rest of the defence.

Liverpool needed at slash one, if not two centre backs in the summer transfer window, with Lucas leaving for Lazio and troublemaker Mamadou Sakho departing for Crystal Palace. The fact that Jürgen Klopp actually reduced his personnel at the back is baffling.

So, the question is, will Joe Gomez start at centre back against Huddersfield? Perhaps. Perhaps it would be a good move to take Lovren out of the firing line. However, Klopp has already spoken of managing Gomez's games, and he and Trent Alexander-Arnold have effectively been rotating the role of right back game by game. If Nathaniel Clyne was fit then moving Gomez across may well have been the answer, but it looks unlikely given the current injury to Clyne.

Dejan Lovren will have to be used again this season. His Liverpool career isn't over. With both Gomez and Alexander-Arnold's games being managed Lovren will have to step in, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see his name in the starting lineup against Huddersfield tomorrow.

Chris Anderson - @EmreCanderson @TheAnfieldTalk

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