Praise Due For Liverpool's New-Look Defence

Liverpool's new 'SAS' attack has received the majority of the plaudits this season. Martin Laurence believes that it is time a new-look defence got some praise...

Last Updated: 15/10/13 at 14:52 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Look Away Now Please, Sherwood...

Post comment

Sherwood's cringeworthiness, Matic's Wembley celebrations, why LVG must show balls - it's all here in your Wednesday afternoon Mailbox...

United's No 2 Isn't That Bad Either...

Post comment

One mailboxer is getting in a flap about the claim Man Utd would struggle without De Dea, while there's some anger directed at Chelsea...

All Articles

Level on points with Arsenal at the top of the Premier League, Brendan Rodgers will be very pleased with how Liverpool's season has panned out thus far, with many of the plaudits heaped on the Reds' top scorer Daniel Sturridge. With Luis Suarez returning from suspension to partner the Englishman, it's fair to say that the efforts of Liverpool's defence have been a little overlooked.

The manager has all-but admitted that a recent move to a 3-5-2 formation was devised almost entirely as a means to having his two star strikers starting in their favoured positions. Such a dramatic tactical switch puts strain on the defensive pack far more than it would the newly coined 'SAS', but as of yet a new-look Liverpool defence has stood up to the task.

Although Iago Aspas and Victor Moses were brought in to supplement the attacking department, Rodgers signed no fewer than four defenders this summer, while Martin Skrtel, who looked destined to leave the club, was given a second chance. It's an opportunity that the Slovakian has grasped with both hands, starting five of Liverpool's league games and accruing a WhoScored.com rating of 7.31.

Skrtel is merely displaying the sort of commitment that the manager will have demanded after a surprising omission from action in the second half of the previous campaign. Having started just four league games since the turn of the year the Slovakian is back to his best, with only Caulker (12) and Gabbidon (10) blocking more shots and just three players completing more clearances per game (10.6).

Of Liverpool's defensive unit this season it is perhaps Kolo Toure that has received the most praise, tasked with replacing the retiring Jamie Carragher. The pressure on the Ivorian was alleviated somewhat having signed on a free transfer, but the experienced centre-back is proving that he is still capable of performing at the very top level.

Indeed, the 32-year old's WhoScored.com rating only falls marginally behind Skrtel's (7.23), having made the most tackles per game (2) of centre-backs at the club. When comparing Toure's current figures to those of predecessor Carragher, the loss has been relatively seamless. Carragher averaged just 0.8 tackles and 0.4 interceptions per game in his final season, with Toure winning more than twice as many aerial duels per match in his first six appearances (2.2 to 0.8).

Of the current back three that leaves Mamadou Sakho, whose arrival from PSG was perhaps the most eye-catching of Liverpool's new defensive recruits. The 23-year-old has adapted to the English game well and possesses the passing ability that Rodgers demands from his players, a 91% accuracy enough to rank as the best for the club this season. Another team high of 2.8 aerial duels won per game will have appeased the fans, while for a relatively young player his reading of the game has also shone through, averaging an impressive 2.8 interceptions per match.

Those kind of figures have helped the young Frenchman to an encouraging WhoScored.com rating of 7.18 and ensure that all three of the defensive trio rank among the top ten centre-backs in the Premier League. Indeed, their form leaves Daniel Agger, seen as Liverpool's first-choice defender last season, sitting on the sidelines having recovered from a rib injury.

A rating of 6.69 thus far has fallen way short of the standards expected of the Dane. Meanwhile, if the Reds continue to occupy the top positions in the table than it may be a while before the 28-year-old gets a chance to stake his claim for the shirt that few would have predicted he'd lose.

Martin Laurence - follow him on Twitter here

All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

d like to add players who push their team-mates out of the way to celebrate on their own

exhausted
The Ten Most Hated Things In Football

I

f I were Manuel Pellegrini I would keep quiet and hope the Board didn't notice City not winning anything. If he isn't sacked I'd be astonished.

lfcfan80
Pellegrini: I won't be sacked

S

till I suppose it still gives him at least another year in the job. By the time it comes around , he can always make up another excuse. First it was 3 months , then a year .....Next year ? Whats his excuse with Van Persie ?

spud1
Di Maria 'could peak next year'

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Neville 'concerned' over Reds form

Gary Neville has admitted that he is "concerned" that a resurgent Liverpool could qualify for the Champions League ahead of Manchester United.

Boro claim top spot as Derby lose

Middlesbrough became the new Championship leaders as they took advantage of Derby's latest slip by beating Millwall 3-0.

Aston Villa 2-1 West Brom: Benteke's late show helps end Villa's long wait for a win

Tim Sherwood recorded his first win as Aston Villa boss as Christian Benteke's late penalty helped beat West Brom 2-1.

Mail Box

Look Away Now Please, Sherwood...

Sherwood's cringeworthiness, Matic's Wembley celebrations, why LVG must show balls - it's all here in your Wednesday afternoon Mailbox...

United's No 2 Isn't That Bad Either...

One mailboxer is getting in a flap about the claim Man Utd would struggle without De Dea, while there's some anger directed at Chelsea...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company