Jurgen Klopp now knows the four players who can help Liverpool expedite its turnaround.

Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Van Dijk, and Robertson
Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Van Dijk, and Robertson

Liverpool’s historic win over Manchester United has underlined where things have gone wrong this season

In the midst of such emotional upheaval. There are two notable results that could help Liverpool meet their minimum aim of Champions League qualification by the end of May.

The most recent – how could it not? – came on Sunday, when the Reds defeated bitter North West rivals Manchester United 7-0 to come within touching distance of the top four.

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp

Nevertheless, a 2-1 win against Tottenham Hotspur in November ended the club’s long wait for its first away Premier League win of the season, only a week after a humiliating home defeat to struggling Leeds United.

With the Londoners emerging as the strongest opponents to the Reds for a top-four spot – even if Newcastle United, Brighton & Hove Albion, and Brentford will undoubtedly have their say in the remaining part of the season – points in games between the main contenders might be vital.

And those two important successes have an extraordinary feature. They are the only games this season in which Liverpool have begun with their preferred back four of Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back, Andy Robertson at left-back, and Ibrahima Konate alongside Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the defense.

Andy Robertson
Andy Robertson

It helps to understand Liverpool’s defensive woes up until a recent resurrection of six clean sheets in the previous seven Premier League games, which has laid the groundwork for their rebound after a disastrous start to the calendar year.

Of course, the midfield problems haven’t helped. Nonetheless, it is clear that both parts of the team have been impacted by the condition of instability experienced in the other.

And there’s no denying Liverpool haven’t had a consistent back four this season. Indeed, J├╝rgen Klopp has used 16 different back-four combinations in 38 games across all competitions, which is an incredible feat.

The quintet of Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez, Van Dijk, and Robertson has won five games and, maybe more tellingly, lost four. The back four of Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, and Robertson has gone unbeaten in five games, winning three and drawing two.

Alexander
Alexander

A defense of Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, and Kostas Tsimikas has been used four times, with two victories and one defeat, while a backline of Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, and Tsimikas has seen two wins and one defeat. The remaining 12 backlines, including the one used against United on Sunday, have been used only twice this season.

It highlights how absences have mostly triggered the continuous changes, with Konate, Van Dijk, and Matip all sidelined at some point due to long-term physical issues.

“We’re continuously trying to enhance our defense,” says Matip. “We realize that defense is the foundation for a successful game and a good result, so we try to focus on it and use it as the foundation for our attacking performance. We’re really glad to have clean linens, and perhaps this is only the beginning.

Joel Matip
Joel Matip

“Of course, having Virgil back is critical. We now have a proper squad again. Of course, there are a few players with high quality who are still absent, but if we can bring all of the talent,

The starting back four against United had only played together 14 times in total. There have been 12 wins, as well as a Premier League draw at home against Tottenham at the end of the season. The sole loss was to Real Madrid in the Champions League final last May.

Even if the quartet avoids injury, there will be some movement between now and the end of the season due to rotation. Yet, Liverpool’s top-four challenge will almost certainly be defined by that illustrious back four.

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