Spoiler alert, Liverpool’s season didn’t start the way many fans would have liked.

Although it’s still early doors, alarm bells seem to be ringing for a large number of supporters after the Reds were picked apart by Manchester City before drawing their next two games against Sevilla and Burnley at home.

As astutely pointed out by someone on Twitter, Liverpool have lost just two games since March with the most recent being the calamity at the Etihad stadium due to Sadio Mané’s divisive red card.

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – Saturday, September 9, 2017: Liverpool’s Sadio Mane challenges Manchester City’s goalkeeper Ederson Moraes, and is shown a red card and sent off, during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Although Sergio Aguero had put Man City 1-0 up before the sending off and Liverpool did look shaky, the number of times the Reds managed to get in behind Pep Guardiola’s side’s back four would indicate a goal was due before Mané was given his marching orders for planting his boot in Ederson’s face.

Having said all that, Liverpool’s biggest issue as always is not and will not be scoring goals as that is almost a given. No, the largest challenge that faces Jürgen Klopp this season is his backline and it seems almost tiresome to be talking about it again.

Much like discussing the same transfer rumours in the summer with Naby Keita and Virgil van Dijk the names which haunted me this year, the word defence is taboo and will be until I am confident that Liverpool will see out a Premier League season without conceding 50+ goals.

As it is, at the current rate opposition sides will score 68.4 times against Liverpool this term.

Zonal marking Watford vs Liverpool corners free kicks defence

WATFORD, ENGLAND – Saturday, August 12, 2017: Watford players and supporter celebrate an injury time third equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Watford and Liverpool at Vicarage Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The ugly truth is, although you’d expect that average to level out around the half century mark once again, there is no way Klopp can guide this Liverpool side to silverware if that’s the number of goals that can be expected to leak through at the back yet again.

I’m very much a part of the modern generation of Liverpool fans and you’d expect us to be upbeat and positive about life and football in general but as it is, I can just about remember the miracle that is Istanbul, I can sort of remember Gerrard’s heroics against West Ham.

My most vivid memory of silverware at Liverpool is the Carling Cup win over Cardiff City in 2012 which is hardly the most illustrious moment in the club’s 125 year history.

I, and many fans around my age, are as cynical as the older generation who remember “the good old days” and begrudge the absence of successful football sides plying their trade at Anfield.

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Jürgen Klopp Arsene Wenger lesson Liverpool Arsenal Watford

SINSHEIM, GERMANY – Monday, August 14, 2017: Liverpool’s manager Jürgen Klopp during a press conference ahead of the UEFA Champions League Play-Off 1st Leg match against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As much as much as the current climate at Liverpool Football Club is vastly better than during the ‘dark days’ under Roy Hodgson, many fans are still disillusioned with the direction that the club is heading in and Jürgen Klopp still has an almighty task on his hands trying to turn the numerous doubters into believers.

I am one of Klopp’s biggest fans. I wouldn’t question his suitability for the job at all but at present, the German manager has a lot of work to do to get Liverpool to a point where he can comfortably challenge for silverware on all fronts.

At present, the Reds are in the Premier League, the Champions League, the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup. If I was to be entirely honest, only the Carabao Cup seems a likely source of silverware for Liverpool this season all things considered.

As much as I would love to avoid writing about him until such a point that it looked likely that Liverpool could sign him, it seems difficult given the Reds’ current defensive issues not to discuss Virgil van Dijk and the club’s failure to sign him.

van Dijk

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 28: Virgil van Dijk of Southampton celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur at St Mary’s Stadium on December 28, 2016 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

There is only one way to look at the matter for me. Had the Dutchman signed for Liverpool in the summer, it would have put Klopp’s team in a stronger position to challenge across all fronts this season.

As it is, missing out on not just van Dijk but failing to sign any centre-back has further weakened Liverpool to the point that an injury to Jöel Matip leaves Klopp with the precarious situation of having Dejan Lovren as his primary centre back.

Even the most optimistic of Liverpool fan could not argue that given the relative strength of our rivals, it seems unlikely for domestic or European silverware to feature heavily in our short-term future.

The reason why the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United are favourites to win the title this season is because they identified their weaknesses in the summer and strengthened. In comparison, Liverpool only barely increased squad depth enough to cope with the extra football that comes with playing in the Champions League.

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – Monday, August 21, 2017: Manchester City’s manager Pep Guardiola with David Silva after the FA Premier League match between Manchester City and Everton at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As much as I hate to say it, both Manchester clubs have mean defences and ridiculously efficient attacks. Despite the season having just begun, it’s clear to see that they will be two of the strongest sides this season unless major injuries play a role.

For now, Klopp needs to work out a way to lower the number of individual errors that Liverpool’s players make in defence to increase their chances of winning games. With Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho on board, goals are all but guaranteed.

Yet, with Lovren and the like playing games in defence, opposition attackers are just as confident. Klopp will need to dip into the January transfer market for a centre back to replace Dejan Lovren, even if it’s not van Dijk. It’s time he learnt his lesson and realised that there are other defenders out there and that some just don’t learn from their mistakes.

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