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Liverpool’s Premier League season is going through a rough patch and Jurgen Klopp’s side has conceded 16 times in 9 outings so far in the league. The defence has been a major concern and a string of dismal defensive displays have made things complicated for the Reds, especially following previous weekend’s disastrous 4-1 Wembley defeat to Tottenham Hotspur.
Klopp’s summer transfer policy was highly criticised for not bringing in a centre-back which was considered as their topmost priority and his defensive options like Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan have failed to impress the gaffer due to their error-prone displays.
The entire back five of Liverpool needs an upgrade and despite early promises shown by the youngsters like Danny Ward, Joe Gomez, Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, the back line lacks experience as well as consistency. Nathaniel Clyne is yet to return from his injury whereas Joel Matip is also proving to be little inconsistent lately.
Left-back Alberto Moreno, surprisingly, has been the most influential defender for the Merseysiders who has improved drastically following a couple of disappointing campaigns. Yet, the Liverpool defence is not good enough if we compare them with both the Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur and if reports from several outlets are believed to be true, Reds boss Klopp is set to complete the £22m transfer of AS Roma left-back Emerson Palmieri who has been extensively scouted in recent years and a summer move reportedly broke down due to his ACL rupture that he suffered towards the end of the previous campaign and is yet to recover fully from this long-standing injury.
Emerson, 23, joined the Serie A heavyweights back in 2015 from Santos and despite being a second-fiddle to Lucas Digne, the Brazil-born defender has earned regular status after Digne’s departure (who joined Barcelona) and has impressed in the short run following a balanced display down the left flank. He has showed great attacking skills but has maintained defensive composure at the same time – something Liverpool desperately need to sort out as early as possible.
Liverpool’s left-back conundrum is nothing new. Since Jose Enrique’s egress, the Reds have experimented many in that role, but most of them failed to earn a regular status. Moreno joined them back in 2014 but failed to convince the gaffer with his erroneous outings. Klopp had to play versatile James Milner in a makeshift left-back role last season, who, against all odds, did a tremendous job in an unusual slot and benched the Spaniard for the majority of the campaign.
Moreno was on the verge of being transferred out and Klopp brought in young Scotsman Andrew Robertson following an impressive Premier League campaign with Hull City. But Moreno sensationally turned his fortunes around with a stellar pre-season campaign and re-registered his place in the starting XI despite Robertson’s commendable performances in limited opportunities.
The Reds now have three options for the left-back slot including James Milner; Emerson’s arrival thus will jeopardise Robertson’s career growth furthermore. The Roma youngster has statistical superiority that makes him an upgrade on the current options and his signing will be a strong message of Klopp’s intent to rebuild his defensive line.