Assessing the options available to Klopp.
Last season was the first time in over a decade that Liverpool could field a right back and left back simultaneously, who were not comple liabilities. For a significant part of the season Liverpool had impressive operators in these positions. Robertson and Trent in particular could link up with the attack at will, whilst also being defensively sound.
Going in to the next campaign it would be easy for over confidence to set in. If the club is to build on it’s momentum then there must be strong players in each position. If a title challenge is to be mounted, is it time to get ruthless and properly look at the options at Klopp’s disposal?
Strong on the right
Fabinho’s signing has added an extra option at right back for next season. The Brazilian can slot in there if needs be and adds to Clyne Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold as extra cover.
On the surface there is strength there. However both Gomez and Clyne have well documented fitness issues and Trent is not yet twenty. It would be unfair to heap so much pressure on the local youngster, despite his obvious talent. With four players there though, we should have enough bodies for a full campaign.
Going forward Clyne and Gomez are not good enough and this will need to be addressed as some point. Gomez looks a more natural centre-half and may well switch over in the near future. Clyne on other hand may only get the next few weeks to prove his fitness. He looked short last season after his injury set back and the concern will be whether the lay off has taken too much from his game.
Nothing on the left
Andy Robertson was a revelation last season. His slow burn in to the first team was a genuine highlight of the campaign. His signing for £8 million from Hull City must go down as one of Klopp’s best transactions.
His pace, direct runs and general menace on the flank is a fantastic asset for the club. He’s also a strong and brave defender. With Robertson at left back the first eleven looks more balanced and composed.
Beyond the Scot though and we are struggling. Moreno simply cannot be considered a serious option. The fact he is still at the club collecting a wage is bad enough. If worst case scenario occurred and Robertson was out for whatever reason, fielding the error prone Spaniard would be a massive concern.
Gomez can play there, and has done well enough whenever he’s been called on. However, he feels like a square peg in a round hole there and a better option as cover must surely be sought.
It was the elephant in the room for years under five different managers in eight years. The full backs were useless and costing us games. People made blizzare excuses for Johnson’s weekly blunders, whilst a procession of terrible left backs came and went. it is painful to consider how many games were lost in this era due to woeful defending in this area.
Finally the club is in a better place in that area. Interestingly Lovren looked a lot better once Robbo was installed as a regular starter. This highlights the importance of the area for any side with serious ambition.
This is surely why Moreno must now be jettisoned and a better option for cover brought in. Robertson will need to be rested at times so it is vital the club does the sensible thing with the transfer window open. If we were to mount a serious challenge next season then more depth is needed to add to Klopp’s growing foundations at the back.