Joey Barton has branded Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side as a team with ‘a Champions League attack and a Championship defence’, after they shipped more goals away from home this weekend.
The Reds have been a shambles at the back this season and leaked a further two goals against Leicester City on Saturday – taking their tally up to TEN goals conceded in just THREE away games this term.
Fortunately for Klopp, his in-form front line continued to dazzle and found the net three times through Mohamed Salah, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson, which proved enough to win at the King Power Stadium.
Manager Klopp admitted his frustrations over his leaky back-four following the game, and told press he could ‘write a book on defending in two hours’.
But, when asked about the Liverpool boss’ claims, Sports Breakfast co-host Joey Barton told talkSPORT: “I don’t know what’s in that book!
“Liverpool are great going forward, they’ve got a Champions League attack…but they’ve got a Championship defence.
“If you’ve going to build a side to challenge the big clubs in this league then you’ve got to be able to defend.
“Klopp’s statement that he can write a book on defending…anyone can write a book on defending! We can sit here and go through footage and draw out how we’d perfectly like to defend a set-play – it’s easy to do that.
“But defending is all about attitude and I don’t think he’s bought players who have the right attitude towards defending.
“You can say that it’s individual mistakes, it’s this, it’s that, but they haven’t got a desire to put their head in places and get hurt and defend properly.
“You’ve got to have a desire to keep clean sheets.”
Goalkeeper Simon Mignolet had a direct hand in both of Leicester’s goals, with the Belgian flapping at a corner to allow Shinji Okazaki to prod home, and then palming a shot straight into the path of Jamie Vardy who coolly headed in.
The Belgian later made amends by saving a late Vardy penalty to ensure the Reds took home all three points, but Barton believes Liverpool’s defensive frailties all stem from Mignolet’s nervousness.
“Mignolet looks dodgy every time the ball comes in and around him,” he added. “I don’t think he’s sure of himself.
“People perhaps forget that he was the Sunderland goalie – it’s not like he’s got top-class pedigree. He’s not an international goalkeeper. He’s in the Belgium squad but he’s never going to push Courtois for the number one jersey.
“You look at the Premier League’s top six sides, Liverpool have the worst goalkeeper. Man City have got Bravo, Man United have De Gea, Chelsea have Courtois, Tottenham have Lloris, even Arsenal have Cech.
“Then when you look at their central defence partnership and full-backs, you realise Liverpool have actually got the worst defensive structure of all the top six clubs.”
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