Underlying Liverpool problem that needs addressing if Reds are to retain title

A surprise statistic emerged this weekend which demonstrates exactly where Liverpool must improve if they are to win their second Premier League title in a row.

Jurgen Klopp's side sit top of the table after seven games but are nowhere near as comfortable as last season, when they stormed into a healthy early lead after triumphing in their first eight matches in the division.

This time around they have won five, drawn one and lost one, and just six points separate them from 13th placed Crystal Palace.

It certainly looks set to be a much more closely contested title race this time around – and it is due in no small part to Liverpool's leaky defence.

Amazingly, the Reds were top of the league at one stage this weekend despite having conceded the most number of goals in the Premier League.

They have let in 15, almost half of which came in the sensational 7-2 thumping from Aston Villa last month.

They also shipped three goals against Leeds on the opening day of the season and two against rivals Everton, and they have recorded just one clean sheet in the Premier League so far.

West Brom's 2-0 defeat to Fulham on Monday means the Baggies have now conceded 16, one more than Liverpool, but the fact the champions have still let in more than every other team in the division is extraordinary.

It was the first time a team have topped the table having conceded the most goals since Norwich City between 9-20 November in 1992, and it certainly underlines where Liverpool must look to improve.

Their injury problems at the back are no secret, with the talismanic Virgil van Dijk ruled out for a number of months after damaging his ACL.

But the Reds actually conceded the vast majority of their goals while the Dutchman was still fit, which appears to suggest it is a problem with the system rather than personnel which is seeing them have issues.

Liverpool supporters will be desperately hoping they improve defensively, although it is worth bearing in mind that they actually only kept two clean sheets in their first 15 matches of last season before then going on to record a stunning ten in 11.

This suggests they may improve the further we get into the season again, and it will be intriguing to see whether a new-look centre-back pairing of Joe Gomez and Fabinho can thrive once the Brazilian returns from his injury.

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