Liverpool produced yet another electric display at the weekend at Selhurst Park to emerge victorious with a 4-2 scoreline but defensive concerns remain.
Brazilian playmaker Philipe Coutinho was the toast of the night thanks to his exhilarating performance against Crystal Palace but the sloppiness in the back-line and individual errors took some shade off from the otherwise fine team performance.
Emre Can had given the Reds a lead in the 16th minute, finishing off a fine team-goal. But Crystal Palace responded immediately through James McArthur, after defender Dejan Lovren gifted the midfielder with a backward lobbed pass near the penalty box.
Crystal Palace’s second goal saw another piece of farcical defending after former Liverpool striker Christian Benteke found Wilfried Zaha in acres of space in the penalty box on the right side with a pass, who then put in a cross which was headed into the back of the net by James McArthur, his second of the night.
Liverpool took their third lead of the night around 10 minutes later after Joel Matip scored from a Coutinho corner and then the game was put to bed in the 71st minute by Roberto Firmino.
As good as the Reds were going forward, they weren’t comfortable defending their own box. The back-line often appeared shaky against direct plays of Crystal Palace, and there were moments of sloppiness throughout the game.
However, manager Jurgen Klopp, speaking his post-match thoughts, has insisted he isn’t concerned about Liverpool’s poor defensive display and promises to sort it out, before praising the team’s character to bounce after the set-back suffered in the first half.
“I know that everybody will talk about this but they can defend really well; it’s normal (to have lapses). They are all human beings, we work on it. I am completely convinced about the quality. I was happy with the reaction (after conceding).”
“We will sort the defense – what then happens, we will see.”
Liverpool have managed to keep a clean sheet on only 3 occasions in their last 21 Premier League matches, and have already conceded 13 goals in 10 games in the league this season.
Liverpool’s attacking threat is among the best in the league – after all they are the joint top scorers in the league with 24 goals. But if the Reds are to challenge for the tittle come May, defensive concerns have to be addressed very soon.