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Jurgen Klopp Confident His 'Proper' Defence Sees Long-Term Future at Liverpool

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistApril 5, 2019

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 31:  Jurgen Klopp the manager of Liverpool FC looks on during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on March 31, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp is confident Liverpool's current defenders want "to spend the majority of their careers" at Anfield. 

The Reds are in the running to win a first league title since 1990, as they sit just one point behind top-of-the-table Manchester City.

Last season, they finished 25 points behind the Sky Blues, who won the title with a record 100 points.

Liverpool's vast improvement this season is largely down to the fact that they finally have a functioning defence.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 31: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on March 31, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

The additions of goalkeeper Alisson Becker and centre-back Virgil van Dijk—for a combined cost of nearly £142 million—have been crucial.

But Andy Robertson (a £10 million signing from Hull City), Joe Gomez (£3.5 million from Charlton Athletic) Joel Matip (who joined on a free transfer from Schalke) and youth graduate Trent Alexander-Arnold have all also been vital to the Reds' record of just 19 goals conceded in 32 league games this term.

Of the six, Van Dijk and Matip are the oldest at 27, and Klopp believes Liverpool will be able to keep their defensive unit together on Merseyside for the foreseeable future, per Dejan Kalinic of Goal:

"They have a long career ahead, which is cool. And how it looks at the moment is that they want to spend the majority of their careers here, which is cool as well. It is probably not the most expensive defence in the world but it is a proper one, a really proper one. Wherever good players are coming from, wherever they are raised, wherever the dream started, they are welcome here at Liverpool."

Before this season, the defence had been a long-term problem for Liverpool.

Between 2010-11 and and 2016-17, the Reds conceded more than 40 goals in seven consecutive league seasons, including 50 in 2013-14, when they finished second.

Even last season they conceded 38 goals, 25 of which were let in before Van Dijk made his debut for the club in January 2018.

But it is not just Van Dijk who has proved crucial to Liverpool's title challenge. Robertson, 25, is arguably the best left-back in the Premier League, and he is vital in attack as well as defence:

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Alisson, meanwhile, is a goalkeeper Liverpool can rely on after the inconsistencies of Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius:

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The Reds have always boasted flair in their attack, and it is no different now thanks to Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

But building a good defence has long been the key to their hopes of becoming title challengers again, and if Liverpool can keep this back line at the club for the next few seasons, success should be on the way. 

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