Have Klopp and Guardiola major defensive issues?

Pat Nevin gave his thoughts to Off the Ball after Sunday's top-four clash

BY Rob Fanning 12:52 Tuesday 21 March 2017, 12:52 21 Mar 2017

Pat Nevin joined Joe Molloy and Kevin Kilbane on Monday night's Off The Ball as they discussed the big talking points from Sunday’s Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool.

Sunday's top four encounter saw third place Manchester City host fourth place Liverpool. With Chelsea running away with the league, the two sides still have it all to play for as the Champions League places are there for the taking. The game finished 1-1. Although a draw was probably a fair result, there could have easily been more goals.

Both managers are known for their attacking style of play and although this is exactly what the majority of spectators want to see, Nevin believes it will be very difficult for either side to win a league when they are conceding that many goals at the back.

“How many teams can you remember in the history of the Premier League that have won the league with anything less than an extremely good defence? It’s so rare to happen it is weird.” said Nevin.  

“Even Leicester were brilliantly organised last year. We talk about the fact that they broke well but hey they needed to have a hell of a good defence. What two teams have lost the least amount of goals this season? Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, both one and two in the league. They have lost 21 goals each. They are miles ahead of everyone in that department.”

The issue is that it’s unlikely Klopp and Guardiola will change the way they play. For example Manchester City played Monaco at home a few weeks ago and it was arguably one the greatest matches in the Champions League in recent years. City won 5-3 in an absolutely riveting contest. Although Guardiola's side won the game, it is very hard for a team to win a match having conceded three goals and you cannot always expect your forwards to produce that amount of goals.

John Stones has been heavily criticised lately for his defensive efforts. Kilbane feels that Guardiola sees Stones as not being your traditional defender who essentially stops teams from scoring but as a player who starts off attacks from the back of their half. A player who is composed on the ball and can pick out a pass to start off an offensive move.

“I don’t think Guardiola gives a monkeys about what John Stones is doing defensively,” he said. “It’s how he’s implementing his plan and starting attacks going forward.”

Nevin highlighted the interesting point, “you can do that if you are the Manchester City manager and your name is Pep Guardiola and you’ve got everyone behind you, but try and do that somewhere else and you are getting sacked.”

“That’s why people like ourselves who talk about the game need to be honest. Do we treat different people differently just because of who they are? If David Moyes tried to do the same thing would we absolutely batter him to death? But it’s alright for Jurgen and Guardiola because they’ve got better players, a hell of a lot of money and they can get away with it more. I think we need to be honest more.”

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