Liverpool’s new signing James Milner made his Premier League debut for the Reds on Sunday in the sides 1-0 win over Stoke. Milner who joined Liverpool from Manchester City on a free transfer has been named the vice-captain of the side and he started the game in central midfield alongside club captain Jordan Henderson.
One of Liverpool’s biggest flaws last season was their defence which did not look safe the majority of the time. Last term Brendan Rodgers opted to play with three central defenders in order to plug the leaky defence but on Sunday we saw the Liverpool manager shift back to playing with two central defenders in Lovren and Skrtel.
Liverpool managed to keep a clean sheet on Sunday compared to letting in six goals last season during the same fixture. Milner was full of praise for the back four on Sunday.
Milner told LFC TV after the game, “We have got a lot of quality going forward, but a lot of credit goes to the whole team and the back four.
“Clyney looks like he’s been here for 10 years; Joe coming in for his first game in the Premier League playing against Walters, who is an experienced pro, very clever and a tough player to play against – I thought he was outstanding and did a great job.
“The two centre-halves were brave and kept a really good line. That makes all the difference for us as a midfield and a team, keeping us high. I thought the boys at the back were brilliant.”
It may only be the first game of the season but there is still a lot of work for the defenders at the club to do. Lovren still needs to prove that he is a better player than Mamadou Sakho or else the Frenchman will come in to replace him. Alberto Moreno will be itching to win back his place at left-back from young Joe Gomez who in essence is actually a central defender.
With the change in backroom staff at Liverpool, hopefully there will be a bit more emphasis on defensive training compared to seasons gone by. It is up to Brendan Rodgers and his coaching staff to find the right balance between attack and defence this season.