Liverpool's Defensive Horror Show Blamed on Defenders by Brendan Rodgers

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2014

Liverpool's Simon Mignolet, centre, dives in vain as he attempts to stop a penalty by Swansea City's Wilfried Bony, centre left, during their English Premier League soccer match at Anfield Stadium, Liverpool, England, Sunday Feb. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has heavily criticised his defenders following the team's concession of three goals on home soil, in the roller-coaster 4-3 victory over Swansea City on Sunday. 

As reported by Dominic King of The Mail Online, Rodgers was direct in his assessment of his players: 

The problem is that it's not coaching. Some of the things we conceded goals in you can't coach that. There's a feel when you're in the game - of how to defend - and you have to use that experience to be able to defend properly. I've always said that, ever since I've been here.

We had moment in the game that we weren't so good at. But I will focus on the character to keep going. I thought two of the goals (we conceded) were probably soft. The highlight for us was our aggression going forward. We will analyse the other side of our game and look to improve it.

Jon Super/Associated Press

Liverpool's goal-scoring exploits have kept the club in the Premier League title race, but their goals conceded is a statistic that will worry the manager.

His team have conceded 35 goals this season. That is the second-highest amount of goals conceded of the top 10 clubs in the league, one goal worse than West Ham and four more than a struggling Manchester United side, per BBC Sport.

Against Swansea, Daniel Agger had to be replaced due to his shaky display, while Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel and Jon Flanagan all struggled.

However, Liverpool's attack has been sumptuous in 2013/14 and has driven the club toward a historic title challenge.

A host of prominent individuals voiced their opinions on Twitter about the Reds' current form and the part played by Rodgers and his staff:

That last tweet centres on what will likely dictate how Liverpool's season ends. The Reds are currently scoring enough goals to overshadow their defensive shortcomings. However, if the goals dry up, Champions League football is far from secure just yet.

With Liverpool only lying four points from the top of the summit, they are genuine title contenders and will feel enthused going into the final part of the title race. Rodgers has formed the country's most devastating attack in Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, and they can take the team to a title that looked more than unlikely at the start of the season. 

Even with their huge bank balances, neither Chelsea nor Manchester City can currently compete with Liverpool in the forward positions, but the Merseysiders' lack of a defence will be the factor that stops them in their tracks, if they fail. 

Rodgers will have to address this in the summer whilst trying to hold on to both Suarez and Sturridge, who will both attract the attentions of the biggest clubs in Europe.

It will be a difficult balancing act for the Liverpool manager in the next transfer window, but Champions League qualification will go some way toward this effort. 

One major factor that should help the Merseyside club is the imminent return from injury of Mamadou Sakho, but Rodgers will likely need to add to his defence once again in the summer, regardless of where Liverpool finish this season.