Craig Bellamy: Expect a busy few days as Liverpool must address problem areas

The former Reds striker also remembers the day he watched Arsenal win the title at Anfield...

Defensively, Liverpool have had a problem for a few years now, it was there towards the end of the reign of Brendan Rodgers and it remains in Klopp’s time at Anfield.

Against the top teams you have to work very hard to create an opportunity. Liverpool will always give you that chance though, at least once in a game. Sometimes that’s one time too many.

We’ve known the areas Jurgen Klopp needs to address for a long time, and he’s clearly aware of it too, with the players he’s tried to draft in this summer.

They still need more at centre back and a defensive midfielder would be a key signing for me.

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The club is always a huge carrot to dangle in front of players, they’re a massive draw for a lot of footballers – but the Champions League is where every top players wants to play. So it’s absolutely huge for them to book their spot in the group stages.

Now Liverpool know they’re in it, I’d expect a busy week of transfers at Anfield.

Defensive decisions

When they sit in, Liverpool are okay, but they are very vulnerable to the counter attack – I want to see them go and get players who can shore that area up.

I like Dejan Lovren, and Klopp definitely seems to fancy him too. Otherwise he wouldn’t have offered him a new contract last April.

But, he might need someone a bit more commanding beside him because he’s prone to mistakes.

Maybe he lacks a bit of competition and Liverpool only have three genuine centre halves at the moment. A club of that size really needs four really good players in that position.

However, I’d never want to assassinate a player’s character. I’m not into that and I certainly wouldn’t say what John Arne Riise said about Lovren on Wednesday night.

Crucial Coutinho

I believe Philippe Coutinho is going to play centrally for Liverpool this season – if they can hang onto him of course.

That’s his best position and I always saw him ending up there. Unless there’s a player available out there at a real top club, I don’t see too many men out there that could replace him in this role.

I think the world of Coutinho and he’s a wonderful footballer, but no player – unless they’re Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – is irreplaceable these days.

There’s always other guys around, but Coutinho is coming into the best years of his career and it would be very difficult to find someone as good as him at this time.

If you were going to use him through the centre, in an attacking three, then over the next number of seasons I reckon the Brazilian is going to become one of the best players in the world.

Glory days of The Gunners

When The Reds played Arsenal it was different for me because I grew up a Liverpool fan. The Gunners were always the ones challenging Liverpool for honours most of the time.

I was at Anfield when Arsenal won the old First Division thanks to Michael Thomas’ goal in 1989. So these games have always felt extra special personally because I was sitting in the stadium that day.

Arsenal became the benchmark and they carried on getting stronger over the years, especially in the Premier League era. They’ve always been a top team and will be for a while to come.

These days though I like the way Liverpool go about playing and they can exploit a lot of what Arsenal struggle at.

They play with high intensity, they get at defences – especially at Anfield – and they’ve really been able to take the game to Arsenal recently. Wenger’s men have struggled to cope with that.

Sunday all depends on how Arsenal approach it. If they sit off, defend deep and play on the counter they have a chance. Alexis Sanchez will be key to that if he plays, but that’s the only way I can see them getting a result.

If Arsenal try to go at Liverpool from the start, they may have problems. They often leave their defence exposed, as do Liverpool, and that may be enough to help the home side get the result they need.

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