Bournemouth's Begovic says Liverpool lack pride, desire in defence

(Reuters) - Bournemouth goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has slammed Liverpool’s faltering back-line, saying the Merseyside club’s players lack the pride and desire it takes to be defenders.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Stoke City vs AFC Bournemouth - bet365 Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Britain - October 21, 2017 Referee Lee Probert talks to Bournemouth's Asmir Begovic Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough

Juergen Klopp’s spluttering side faced heavy criticism for their defensive lapses during last Sunday’s 4-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur.

Liverpool, who are ninth in the table and trail leaders Manchester City by 12 points, have already conceded 16 goals -- their most after nine games since 1964.

“They are not doing the basics of defending and I don’t think they have the pride it takes to be a defender,” Begovic said on Sky Sports’ The Debate show.

“It is a combination of things - communication, positioning and the desire to defend is lacking for Liverpool. They don’t look organised, they don’t look like they want to defend.

“I look at some of their players and the first thing is how good they can be on the ball, how they can pass and go forward and how the full backs can attack and join in. I don’t think their first thought is defending.”

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren was replaced on 31 minutes against Tottenham after his error led to the London side’s second goal and Begovic felt the team’s bad decision-making could be due to lack of confidence.

“I think as a unit they look all over the place and there could be many reasons,” Begovic said.

“Confidence is low and there are people making bad decisions so it seems to be a bit of a mess.”

“I don’t think it’s one thing, I think it’s them as a unit. I don’t think they’re working together and there’s a lack of continuity with the centre-back pairings and the full-backs, I don’t think changing the goalkeepers is helping.”

Bournemouth are second bottom in the league table with seven points and have conceded three goals fewer than Liverpool, who welcome Huddersfield Town to Anfield on Saturday.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly