The Big Six’s greatest weaknesses heading into the 2017/18 Premier League season

Liverpool – Central Defense

This is probably the easiest weakness to pick out of this list. The Merseyside club play fantastic football under manager Jurgen Klopp. Up front, Liverpool can hang with the best of teams. An attack of Sadio Mane, Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, and Coutinho (for now at least), will turn Premier League defenses into Swiss cheese in the upcoming season. The only issue is that their own defense will also most likely resemble the porous cheese as well.

Klopp has recently claimed that he is content with his current list of defenders, but the German will have to make a move before the transfer window shuts if they are to challenge for the Premier League title. Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk would be the ideal signing for the Reds, but that deal could be tricky due to the Saints recently reporting Liverpool to the FA for making an illegal approach for van Dijk. Nevertheless, Klopp needs to do whatever it takes to get the Dutch defender.

Manchester City – Central Defense

Much like Liverpool, Manchester City have plenty of attack-minded players, but a lack of stability in defense. The Citizens had their fair share of issues at the back during the 2016/17 season. Although manager Pep Guardiola addressed these problems by signing a new goalkeeper and multiple fullbacks, central defense is still their biggest concern.

Club captain Vincent Kompany is a quality defender; however, injury issues are always a concern for the big Belgium international. Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones have shown brief glimpses of quality, but certainly lack consistency since their arrivals to the blue side of Manchester. City’s title hopes potentially lie in Kompany’s ability to remain healthy. If the 31-year-old defender can stay off of the sidelines, they are strong contenders for the Premier League this season.

 

SEE MORE: Schedule of Premier League games on US TV and streaming

 

Manchester United – Creativity

Manager Jose Mourinho may have brought in reinforcements on the defensive end with center back Victor Lindelof and holding midfielder Nemanja Matic, but the Red Devils still have issues further up the pitch. The losses of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney were eased by the acquisition of Romelu Lukaku; however, a lack of creating goalscoring chances may haunt Mourinho’s club this season.

Manchester United scored just 54 league goals during the 2016/17 campaign, significantly fewest among the top six teams. While they do have capable players such as Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata, and Anthony Martial, the real issue perhaps lies with the manager’s tactics. Since arriving in Manchester, Mourinho has sometimes opted to bring on central midfielder Marouane Fellaini as a late substitute to give United an aerial threat when the team is in need of a goal (as evident in Tuesday’s loss to Real Madrid). The predictable tactic has not always worked and leaves Manchester United looking extremely one-dimensional.

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