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Liverpool must look close to home to fix title-damaging defence

| 06.05.2014

After 36 games of graft, nine minutes of absent defending in their 37th outing undid Liverpool’s hopes of claiming a maiden Premier League title.

The Reds are out to 8/1 to win the league this season after capitulating at the end of their visit to Crystal Palace, blowing a 3-0 lead to end up drawing the game.

The shambolic defending will no doubt send a tidal wave of rumours crashing over the Anfield walls as the country’s media tries to find Brendan Rodgers a solution (or two) to his problems at the back.

Those waves are already building, with the Merseyside club thought to be looking at versatile Sporting Lisbon stopper Marcos Rojo.

However, the Northern Irishman will do well to remember the members of his squad out on loan before flashing the cash at defensive recruitments.

To start with, there’s already a Sporting purchase among the Liverpool ranks yet to make a senior appearance as Tiago Ilori was loaned straight out to Granada having signed from the Portuguese club last year.

Having seen the signing of senior pro Kolo Toure fail to provide adequate cover for the back four, Rodgers owes it to the 21-year-old to give him a try in the Reds first team.

Despite only making seven starts at his temporary Spanish club, Ilori has led them in both interceptions and clearances while also playing a part in the shock win over Barcelona in April, helping to keep a clean sheet against the title hopefuls.

Ilori aside, young English talent like Jack Robinson and Andre Wisdom both will have developed during season-long loans at Championship clubs this season.

Wisdom has held down a regular spot at right-back for promotion chasing Derby, while left-back Robinson would have benefitted greatly from the fighting-experience he gained at Blackpool.

Both youngsters have a handful of senior Reds appearances between them but, as John Flanagan and Raheem Sterling can attest, could add to Liverpool’s quality given the chance.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.