With the opening game of the new season only a few days away it is going to be interesting to see who Brendan Rodgers decides to start with at the heart of our defence.
From what we have seen this pre-season, it looks like Rodgers has preferred the combination of Martin Skrtel and Dejan Lovren. We all know that Lovren did not have the best of debut seasons last term following his move from Southampton last summer. If it were down to first season nerves and moving to a big club then those fears should be over by now. After spending £20million on Lovren, maybe Rodgers feels he needs to play Lovren so he can justify his expenditure.
On the other hand we have Sakho who many fans feel is better than Lovren and should be the one to start alongside Skrtel. Why Brendan Rodgers has not opted to play Sakho alongside Skrtel more often in pre-season has been a mystery to many. There have been rumours that Sakho wants to leave Liverpool and thus he is not featuring more regularly, but those reports have been quashed and the talk of Sakho leaving has cooled down.
If it were not for Sakho’s injuries last season, we would have seen the French defender feature more. When Sakho did play, he did not do too much wrong. At times he may look uncomfortable on the ball but he gets his tackles in and distributes the ball well enough from the back. Where as when Lovren came into the side, he looked very confused and was caught out of position many times.
Granted that Rodgers switched to playing with three centres backs, that may have uneased most of our central defenders, but is has been clear this pre-season that Rodgers has decided to go with four at the back meaning there is room for only two centre backs.
We should also not forget about Kolo Toure and young Joe Gomez who was signed from Charlton in the summer. Rodgers seems to have gotten Gomez playing at left back but his best position is in the middle. Chances of Toure starting regularly this season are slim but I would not be surprised if Gomez gets a run in his favoured position if injuries and form creep in for Skrtel, Sakho and Lovren.
It is important that Rodgers decides on his best pair and sticks with it for as long as possible. The pair need as many games together as possible so they can build up a partnership and understanding. As individuals, Skrtel, Sakho and Lovren are not bad players but at times last season they looked like they are out of their depth.
Who do you think should be our centre back pair against Stoke this weekend?