Time for Reds to become tight, says Rodgers

DETERMINED: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.DETERMINED: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.
DETERMINED: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.
LIVERPOOL manager Brendan Rodgers knows that the defensive problem which has plagued his team’s start to the season is something which cannot be ignored.

The Reds have kept just one clean sheet in their last 18 matches and a summer overhaul of the defence has not rectified an increasingly worrying issue.

This season Liverpool have conceded 19 times, two more than they have scored, and a weakness at crosses and set-pieces has contributed to some inconsistent performances and indifferent results.

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The introduction of £20m centre-half Dejan Lovren and £12m left-back Alberto Moreno appears to have had no effect on the Reds’ vulnerability particularly in the air but Rodgers insists it is an issue which is relative to the whole team.

“Defensively we need to be better as a team, not just the defence and goalkeeper,” he said ahead of today’s visit from Hull City.

“We all pride ourselves on clean sheets but we need to be more competitive and aggressive in those moments as a team.

“That was the disappointment against Real Madrid (a 3-0 defeat on Wednesday) and also the goals we have conceded, a large number of them have been soft and it is our job to improve that quickly.

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“We need to work harder and make it better. We need to reinforce key principles in that organisation and then it’s you as a player on the field showing that competitive spirit.

“The great competitors don’t get done so easily in those situations and that’s something we need to improve upon.”

Rodgers believes part of the reason for the increased criticism in the wake of the defeat to Real is because expectations have increased massively after last season’s run to second place in the Premier League.

They did that thanks to 31 goals from the now-departed Luis Suarez but the Reds boss was keen to stress the picture was not as bleak as some were painting.

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“We have been a victim in terms of how well we have done,” he added. “We are joint-fourth in the league, we are still in the league cup and getting out of the (Champions League) group stage is still in our hands.”