Steve Nicol has admitted he is concerned about the state of Liverpool’s defensive unit heading into the new Premier League campaign as they took their foot off the gas at the back end of last season.
Jurgen Klopp’s men finished the last Premier League season with an 18-point lead at the top, while maintaining a solid defensive record for the majority of the campaign, with 15 clean sheets from 38 outings.
However, Liverpool failed to keep a single clean sheet in their last five league outings, while conceding eight goals, and their backline again conceded a goal against Arsenal in the FA Community Shield on Saturday, which saw the Reds ultimately succumbing to the Gunners on penalties.
Ahead of the new season, Nicol has raised concerns over Liverpool’s solidity at the back, as compromises to the structural integrity of the Reds’ defensive bedrock could cause calamitous repercussions to their hopes of defending the league crown.
Nicol warned that when a team get out of their groove keeping clean sheets, it can be difficult to suddenly get it back.
Asked if he was worried about Liverpool’s form with the Premier League around the corner, Nicol explained on ESPN FC: “I would be lying if I told you that I am not worried about anything.
“I am worried about that backline.
“They have gone from just being impregnable to just looking a little suspect.
“I know you can say well you know what, the truth is they had already won the league and shut it down.
“But it is not so easy to get that sort of that, you know that group, that back five basically, your back four and a goalkeeper, it is very difficult to get in that sort of groove where every time you step on the field you just know that everybody is going to do that job, be in the right position, the opposition is not going to score.
“That thing has disappeared, just because of the circumstances.
“So, the only little worry I have is how quickly are they going to get that backline back to just being impregnable again.”
Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United will provide Liverpool’s defence with their first test in their Premier League opener at Anfield.