Questions remain over Jurgen Klopp’s defensive gamble after poor FA Cup show at Wolves

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By Hani Na’eem – @hani_eem

It is perhaps only natural that there is no one fundamental reason behind a team’s winning of league titles.

Of course, hard work and preparation on the training ground is a big part of it. In the Premier League especially, most teams need that to maintain their top-division status, let alone win anything.

Managers talk of needing a little bit of luck sometimes. Fans and media, much to managers’ chagrin at times, love to talk about the impact of signings and recruitments.

Liverpool recruited well over the summer, and by doing so many believed they have bolstered their chances at a title challenge. Klopp and his team have obliged, as the Reds showed remarkable improvements in numbers and performance levels to sit at the top of the Premier League table just over halfway through the campaign.

With what could be a telling decision at this stage of the season, Liverpool’s manager hinted there will likely be no incoming signings during January’s transfer window. Klopp also offered his take on the departures of Dominic Solanke and Nathaniel Clyne. The German thinks that – in the case with Clyne especially – young players are ready to come in when needed.

Jurgen Klopp will be hoping the new, less demanding playstyle along with good squad depth will be enough to maintain their performance levels during the second period. However, question marks will be raised over the decision of not attempting to bring in a defensive signing this month.

The decision will not come as a surprise, for Klopp has been known to go only for ‘primary options’, even if it means waiting. Fans will remember a certain Virgil van Dijk coming in winter of last year after a rumored meeting in Blackpool meant transfer negotiations broke down in the summer.

However, this will also bring to mind a certain Dejan Lovren and his awful performance in the 4-1 defeat to Tottenham before the signing of the big Dutchman was completed.

This year, Liverpool find themselves in a position they wouldn’t like to lose, and one has to wonder if it’s wise to risk their league position by loaning out Clyne – a great cover for the right-back position – and not bringing in anyone to replace him.

After all, young talents at the club are unlikely to produce a similar performance to Clyne’s against Manchester United when called upon. Liverpool’s defensive improvement has been a key and an often-highlighted area – rightly so. However, injuries to centre backs Lovren, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have left the Reds mightily short-staffed in that area.

There is still plenty of games to play between now and May, and Liverpool have the mentality to bounce back from City’s defeat. It remains to be seen, though, if Klopp’s decision to loan out Clyne without the presence of an established replacement will come back to haunt him.

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