Craig Bellamy: Liverpool are just not strong enough defensively and the balance has been wrong for years

The former Reds forward looks ahead to Saturday’s mega tie with Chelsea and tackles the Alberto Moreno question...


I watched the Sevilla v Liverpool match while cowering beneath the cushions. Don’t get me wrong –  Sevilla are a good team, but to go 0-3 up and not win is unacceptable!

Liverpool utterly dominated the first half because there are plenty of goals in that team. But as soon as the first Sevilla goal hit the net you could see the collapse happening.

Of the English clubs in the Champions League, only Liverpool would concede the type of goals and surrender a lead like they did against Sevilla – because, defensively, they’re just not strong enough.

You’d never see that happen to United or City, because teams can’t get the ball to attack them. Liverpool, though, will present you with chances and, no matter who they’re up against, they’ll give up some opportunities. In the Champions League, they’ll pay the ultimate price for that.

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The biggest problem I have with the Sevilla result is the manner of it. If you’re Jurgen Klopp, you must be so disheartened. He’ll be so disappointed that, again, they weren’t able to see it out.

The defending on set pieces from Liverpool was really disappointing, and it’s individual mistakes again that have cost them.

Balance blunder

You could always question the mentality of this Liverpool group, because they haven’t won anything for a number of years now. They don’t have the trophies to go with their great attacking play.

That’s because the balance of the team isn’t right and it hasn’t been for a good few seasons – stretching back to Brendan Rodgers’s time there.

Their strength going forward is well documented, but they leave gaps at the back to counter attack.

With all their attacking options, they’re an easy team to counter, and in defensive situations they’ve got one or two players that can’t cope with that.

I always liked Liverpool’s plan when they were able to win at big teams last year by being the ones doing the countering instead. That’s because they could protect the back four and break from there with their immense pace.

Salah, Mané and Firmino are men who can be utterly devastating because of their speed.

Let’s talk about Moreno

Alberto Moreno has always made mistakes and everyone, including myself, has questioned his defensive ability. He’s certainly never convinced me that he’s sound enough back there.

To be fair to him, he’s started well this year, but Tuesday was a bad day for him – it was like the old Moreno of the last few years.

That was disappointing for him because, when it happens, people’s minds immediately go back to the last few years when he was constantly making errors.

Unfortunately for him, he took a big step backwards on Tuesday.

If Klopp drops him for the Chelsea game, it could finish him – it would mean that the German lost a lot of faith in him. I wouldn’t drop him for that one though.

I’d say: ‘Okay, you’ve had one blip but you’ve done well this season. Now it’s up to you to show the form you’ve had earlier in the year’.

He needs to prove that Sevilla was just one of those days and kick on again.

Chelsea challenge

Chelsea’s resurgence has come about because of the return to form of Eden Hazard. He’s the danger man for Liverpool and they have to stop the service into him because it’s very difficult to stop him when he has the ball.

You need to stop it getting anywhere near him and to do that Liverpool need to press high. That will invite Chelsea to go long which is not Hazard’s game.

Going forward, I’d always fancy Liverpool to get goals and if they get an early one Saturday afternoon they have to protect it better.

Chelsea are better than Sevilla and, if Liverpool are going to beat Conte’s men, they’ll have to be stronger and better organised than they were on Tuesday.

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