As Liverpool prepare for the daunting task of hosting Real Madrid in the Champions League, we check in on the progress of a player shipped out on loan, but potentially vital to future defensive stability.
Tiago Ilori’s purchase from Sporting Lisbon in summer 2013 as a precocious 20-year-old talent always had the future in mind according to Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers, though the Northern Irishman may now be wishing he had the Portuguese to call upon.
Liverpool have only kept one clean sheet in 11 games so far this season, as the defensive troubles which eventually left their Premier League title challenge in tatters in 2013/14 have come back to haunt them.
The Reds have already rocketed out to 33/1 shots for the league this season as Rodgers’ new-look side appear even more defensively frail than at times during the last campaign.
Meanwhile, over at Bordeaux under new manager Willy Sagnol, 21-year-old Ilori has broken into the first team, scoring on only his second start before injury struck which has sidelined the defender for a few weeks.
However, with Bordeaux currently in third, the consensus in France is that Ilori’s presence will be a real boon to the 2008/09 French title winners’ hopes of returning to the Champions League in May.
Ilori has great positional sense, is quick and at 6ft 3 deals well with aerial danger.
Currently at Anfield, new £20m signing Dejan Lovren appears to have sewn up one of the central-defensive spots to mixed reviews, while Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho continue to scrap for the other.
While they are both physically capable defenders, neither Sakho nor Skrtel can be trusted with any degree of confidence to avoid individual errors when slipping on the red shirt.
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