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Liverpool’s attacking prowess covers for defensive worries

Any fan would have taken Liverpool’s 5-3 victory at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday afternoon at the beginning of the day, having never won at Stoke City in the Premier League.

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 12, 2014: Stoke City's Charlie Adam scores the second goal against Liverpool during the Premiership match at the Britannia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was an ugly win for Brendan Rodgers’ side, embedded in a thrilling encounter in the pouring rain of Staffordshire.

As Liverpool’s attacking play continues to improve and draw admirers, and the ‘SaS’ of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge took off where they left off, defensive frailties remain at the back for the Reds.

For the first time since Liverpool’s dreary day in Hull at the start of December, Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure lined up in central defence for Liverpool.

Neither player looks focused when playing alongside each other, constantly covering for the other and switching sides of central defence.

Skrtel has built up a good defensive partnership with £17million summer signing Mamadou Sakho, and will be the first to welcome him back to the team for next Saturday’s league game at home to Aston Villa.

Both Aly Cissokho and Glen Johnson under-performed, too.

Cissokho looked both clumsy and very short of confidence both defensively and in attack. His first touch often broke up what could have been swift Liverpool counter-attacks.

Furthermore, the Frenchman gave away a string of fouls , which only encouraged Stoke’s midfield forward, causing problems in the centre for Liverpool.

Whilst Cissokho will no doubt be replaced by the currently injured Jose Enrique or Jon Flanagan upon their returns, Johnson’s drop in form is becoming a concern.

Johnson was often left exposed where he would usually comfortably deal with attacks down the opposition left wings.

For Stoke’s first goal, a Peter Crouch header from Marko Arnautovic’s cross, Johnson was lacking in keeping up with the game.

Questions must also be asked of Steven Gerrard in the holding role in midfield.

With a defensive making tackles in the right places, and playing the ball successfully and intelligently, Stoke’s attacks could have been broken up before threatening the goal.

Liverpool’s attack covered for the shambles happening at the back, and the rise of Raheem Sterling continued, now playing a major part of Liverpool’s attacks.

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 12, 2014: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge celebrates scoring the fifth goal against Stoke City during the Premiership match at the Britannia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The combination of Suarez and Sturridge for the Reds’ fourth and fifth of the afternoon was a sight for sore eyes. Their partnership, and the goals they accumulate between themselves, could be the difference between a top four finish for Liverpool, or not.

As it is, Rodgers’ Liverpool are looking good for keeping up with the teams at the top of the table, now just five points off the top of the Premier League.

Use the January transfer window wisely to fix the patches in defence, and defensive midfield, then there is no reason why Liverpool’s attack can’t guide the Reds to great things come May.

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