Liverpool picked up their second clean sheet in as many games as goals from Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane earned them a 2-0 win over Burnley at Anfield
Jurgen Klopp has admitted that Liverpool have learned from the defensive injury nightmare which derailed their title bid last term.
The Reds were at the top of the Premier League towards the end of 2020, but put together a miserable run of form over the festive period which saw their hopes of retaining the title ended.
Much of their difficulties stemmed from the fact they had a number of long-term injuries to their central defenders, including talisman Virgil van Dijk.
The Dutchman missed the majority of their season after suffering an ACL injury, while Joe Gomez and Joel Matip also missed significant portions of the season.
After Van Dijk’s injury last year, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher took aim at the club’s transfer policy for leaving them in a situation which left them desperately short of options.
“Dejan Lovren went and they didn’t replace him so they only have three centre-backs and one of those, Joel Matip, is always injured,” Carragher commented.
“There are question marks now about Joe Gomez. So there is no doubt that Liverpool had to go big in the transfer market.”
Klopp hit back at the time, replying “there are a few reasons why they [pundits] don’t do this job.”
However, after the signing of Ibrahima Konate, the return to fitness of Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip, plus the emergence of Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips, Klopp now has six options at the back, something he claims they “had to” make sure they had within the squad.
Goals from Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane earned Liverpool a 2-0 win, their second straight victory to start the campaign.
And on the performances of Van Dijk and Matip, Klopp said: “We are not surprised by this. They have played together and they are good footballers and that’s how it is.
“But I can tell you now already, because of what happened last year and we desperately needed the fourth centre-half, now we have six, with Rhys [Williams] and Nat Phillips, we needed that.
“They will all play. The first four will all definitely play, they have to. We have to mix it up and we will do that because none of these guys, after long injuries, should play all the time, three times a week and stuff like that, so we have to find a way around this.
“But for this game today there was no chance to change anything from last week because you needed to be used to each other to face this Burnley team.
“It’s really special and specific. Very aggressive and with the new idea, ‘let the game flow’ it makes the game not easier.”