Liverpool doesn’t bemoan the fact it hasn’t set the Premier League alight with attacking play this season because the elements for success already are in place.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers and three of his players, Martin Skrtel, Nathaniel Clyne and Christian Benteke hailed the Reds’ defensive prowess following Monday’s win over Bournemouth. They shut out their first two opponents in 2015-16, limiting Stoke City and Bournemouth to a scant few chances over 180 minutes.
That the Reds have scored just two goals so far seems to be little problem, as they’ve collected six out of six available points in the standings. Rodgers said Monday he’s pleased with the Reds’ defensive performance and promises their attack will improve as new players settle further into life at Liverpool.
“Defensive organization has been good, and that’s important for us,” Rodgers said in his postgame press conference, per LiverpoolFC.com. “There are a lot of new players that have come into the club, and it will take them a little bit of time to bed in. What we’re seeing is a character and spirit in the team and that’s going to be important for us.
“We know the qualities we have and we know as players find fitness at this stage of the season and get more game time, our game will become better.
“My concern at this period was showing that steel and determination to get results and to make a good start.”
Skrtel, Liverpool’s longtime central defensive rock, echoed Rodgers’ vow in comments on his personal website.
“The win is all that counts, and our three points are important,” Skrtel said, per LiverpoolFC.com “I am also happy that we kept a clean sheet again.
“We have many new players, and it takes some time to get used to each other -– it can take some time until things click. But I have no doubt that things will improve and that we will improve.”
Clyne, Liverpool’s right back, is one of those new arrivals. He credits hard work on the practice field for the Reds’ early season defensive success.
“There’s a lot of work going on, we have to improve on our defensive qualities and we showed today that we can be solid in defense,” Clyne told Liverpoolfc.com. “If we can get a clean sheet there’s always the possibility of picking up maximum points like we did today so long the may the clean sheets continue!”
Benteke shoulders much of goal-scoring burden. Despite scoring the game-winner against Bournemouth, Benteke emphasized the shutout, rather than his first goal of the season, in his postgame interview with the club website.
“I’m very happy to have scored tonight and helped the team take three points,” Benteke said. “But the more important thing tonight was the clean sheet and the three points.”
Liverpool visits Arsenal on Monday in its next game, and the Gunners will pose a much stiffer test of the Reds’ defensive mettle than previous opposition. Whether Liverpool’s attack springs to life against Arsenal is less important than earning a result against a fellow challenger for a top-four finish. After all, good teams usually base their games on firm defensive resolve then take it from there.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@LFC