In a development that not too many pre-season observers would have expected, Liverpool’s defence has been the most impressive aspect of Jurgen Klopp’s plans so far this campaign.
Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson can arguably claim to be the division’s best in their respective positions and were joined in the back four by two hugely exciting and popular English prospects; Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez.
The backline offered pace, athleticism and composure, but then Klopp decided to reintroduce Dejan Lovren for the visit of Manchester City, dropping Alexander-Arnold to the bench.
After he repeated the trick in the 1-0 win at Huddersfield, it seems to pertinent to ask why.
Lovren has improved under Klopp but his ceiling is a lot lower than Gomez’s. The Croatian has always felt like a player Klopp is prepared to use while he waits for someone better to come along.
In Gomez, that better centre-half has now recovered from injury and arrived. The former Charlton man offers pace and composure Lovren doesn’t have, and Alexander-Arnold outside him rampages forward and crosses at will.
Lovren’s reintroduction weakens Liverpool’s defence and compromises the development of both Gomez – playing him at right-back when he’s centre-half isn’t too helpful – and especially Alexander-Arnold.
It’s a big error of judgement from Klopp and one he must rectify urgently – starting with the Red Star clash this week.