“Defence key to revival” says Clarke
Liverpool coach Steve Clarke believes work done on their defence has been rewarded with four successive victories.
Clean sheets against Wolverhampton Wanderers, Fulham, Stoke City and Chelsea have allowed the Reds to close the gap on the Champions League places to six points.
Liverpool have risen to sixth in the Barclays Premier League, their highest position of the campaign so far, and confidence and performances have improved hugely since Kenny Dalglish took over as manager a month ago and brought in Clarke to help on the training ground.
The former Chelsea assistant manager has been credited with having a significant influence on the team’s defensive improvement and while it is an area on which he has focused he does not want to be singled out for praise.
“Your success is always based on how you defend,” he said.
“If you defend well as a team and don’t concede goals then you will always give yourself a chance to win the game.
“I know it sounds like an old cliche and it’s really simple but the basis of any good team is built on a strong defence.
“It has been good for us in the last few games not to have let any goals in. It’s good for Pepe (Reina), it’s good for the confidence of everybody and hopefully we can continue that.”
In the last two matches, against Stoke and Chelsea, Liverpool have surprised their opponents by fielding three centre-backs in a change of formation.
That, again, was put down to Clarke’s influence but he said the players had to be commended for adapting so quickly.
“It’s good when you’ve changed the formation a bit and you win,” he added.
“Most of the credit has to go to the players. They are the people that go on the pitch and they have to put that into practice and they’ve done that very well recently.
“I have been impressed with their attitude since I first came to the club.
“Even at the start when it was more difficult to get a result on the training ground you could see the players were working and they were hungry.
“They wanted to take on board what we were trying to tell them and hopefully the recent results are a reflection on how they have trained.”