Having played over 700 games in all competitions for Liverpool Jamie Carragher knows a thing or two about defending at the highest level.
And the Liverpudlian has now used his extensive knowledge of the game to put forward one of the most plausible theories yet as to why the Reds are struggling so badly at the back this season.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have been electrifying at times going forward this term but many have bemoaned the manner in which the opposition have been all too easily allowed to cut through their defence on occasion.
Speaking on Sky Sports following the game, the Anfield legend says it’s a matter of the players’ mentality going into games where Liverpool are falling down at the moment.
“It’s the switch. I played in a lot of teams, under (Rafa) Benitez and (Gerard) Houllier, who were a lot more defensive thinking.
“They weren’t as good on the eye as this Liverpool team, so you’d go into the game with a mindset of ‘I’m defending… I’m coming away to Newcastle and I’m getting a clean sheet’. And you’d always be switched on defending. Maybe that inhibited us going forward at times.
“But with this Liverpool team it becomes like a training session. You have so much of the ball and you’re passing and it’s slow. As a defender we all love to play in the game – getting on the ball, passing, coming short and getting involved – but when you’re defending you have to be really aggressive.
“When you’re on the ball you want to be a bit more composed. Liverpool can’t switch from that composed way to that real nasty aggressiveness that you need as a defender. It takes them too long to switch.”
This insight makes sense if one looks at the way Liverpool have been playing in recent weeks. Klopp will be the first to admit he got things wrong against the likes of Manchester City and Newcastle United where his side were carved open far too easily but will his side learn from these mistakes in the coming weeks?
With major clashes against Manchester United and Tottenham to come this month Reds fans will be hoping they can improve their defending sooner rather than later.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena