Most fall camp quotes are pretty boring. Especially when Mike Gundy and a Mike Gundy-coached team are involved. Lots of “loves to play the game, loves his family etc.”Mason Rudolph even got in on the fun this week when talking about walk-on RB Keegan Metcalf.“We all kind of anticipated it,” Rudolph told the O’Colly. “He’s a senior, he’s a heck of a hard worker and gives great effort on the field. Just a great guy. We were pumped for him.”Straight out of the Gundy playbook. One guy who is not operating out of Mike Gundy’s playbook is senior Ashton Lampkin. He missed most of the season in 2015 but clearly feels confident about going into this campaign.“I think it’s going to turn out great for the season,” Lampkin told the Oklahoman. “I think we’re one of the best secondaries in the nation right now. When it comes to game day we’ll have to show that and prove it.”One of the best secondaries in the country, huh? Maybe, but the defense was just flat-out not very good last year. Not sure that’s a thing I’d be saying with Baker Mayfield, Seth Russell and Patty Mahomes on the slate. Also not something Glenn Spencer is saying!“I don’t think there is great depth right now,” Spencer said recently of the corners. “Ashton is still out of full competition, when he comes back we’ll be better, but right now we’ve got Ramon Richards who is experienced and Darius Curry who has a little experience.“We find out in this league you can’t have enough corners, but we don’t have enough right now that we feel consistently happy with. We’re trying to decide on a couple of young kids to see if they’re ready or not and that’s a day-to-day evaluation. We have to get Ashton healthy, and we’re pleased with Lenzy Pipkins. Ramon has to keep playing disciplined ball and he’s so much better than he was, but those are just a handful of guys. We have to have a couple of those young guys prove they can help us win.”Not the most ringing endorsement. I get where both parties are coming from though. Lampkin is confident in his own abilities as well as those of his ‘mates. Spencer generally hates the entire world this time of year and thinks OSU will go 4-8 and it will be his fault. The truth, as always, will probably fall somewhere in between.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!
Transfers Klopp is in denial! Liverpool were crazy not signing a centre-half this summer Mark Doyle Deputy Features Editor Last updated 2 years ago 13:00 23/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(9) Getty Transfers Liverpool Leicester City v Liverpool Leicester City Premier League Jürgen Klopp Opinion The German coach’s claim that he could not find a better centre-half than the ones he has at his disposal beggars belief After Belgium’s group-stage elimination at Euro 2000, coach Robert Waseige dead-panned, “We have to improve in two key areas: defence and attack.”Jurgen Klopp is presently in possession of an equally flawed side – Liverpool are as profligate as they are permeable – yet nobody is amused. Except for the Reds’ rivals.Reds v Foxes O2.5 goals by HT 9/2 Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Indeed, when asked last week about the Anfield outfit’s chances of winning either the Premier League or the Champions League this season, former Manchester United captain Roy Keane scoffed: “Forget about it! Real Madrid and all the big boys in Europe, they’ll be laughing at Liverpool.”Certainly, the Reds’ rear-guard is risible.Since destroying arguably the worst Arsenal side Anfield has ever seen at the end of August, Liverpool have played four games in all competitions and failed to win one, conceding 10 times in the process.Their 5-0 loss at Manchester City was undoubtedly conditioned by the dismissal of Sadio Mane, at a time when they were still only a goal down and playing well, while they dominated for long periods against Sevilla (2-2), Burnley (1-1) and Leicester (0-2).However, the draw with Sevilla summarised Liverpool’s season so far – and the side they have become under Klopp (and nobody could argue after two years that this is not his side now).Liverpool bossed their Champions League opener almost from start to finish, played scintillating attacking football – particularly during the first half – but missed a penalty and conceded two dreadful goals.Captain Jordan Henderson lamented afterwards: “We had plenty more chances to score so we need to be more ruthless and go three or four goals up.” It was an unintentional but nonetheless damning indictment of his team.As we also saw on the opening day of the season at Watford, if Liverpool don’t score at least four times, there’s no guarantee they’ll win the game, because this is a side that concedes, on average, at least once per game.Since Klopp took charge of Liverpool in October 2015 they have played 71 games and shipped 91 goals, more than all of their top-six rivals: Arsenal (81), Manchester City (75), Chelsea (74), Manchester United (58) and Tottenham (57).Of course, it is perhaps unfair to judge Klopp on his first, truncated campaign, given he inherited a malfunctioning side from predecessor Brendan Rodgers, and it is worth acknowledging that Liverpool had the fifth best defence in the Premier League last season.However, the 2016-17 campaign also underlined that the Reds are being handicapped by their brittle back four.Klopp believes that attack is the best form of defence and his industrious, pacey forwards occupy opposition backlines for their majority of their matches. Indeed, Liverpool faced fewer shots than every other side in the top flight last season bar Manchester City – yet still conceded 42 times.When shorn of their best attacking outlets through injury – Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and, in particular, Sadio Mane – Liverpool go from title challengers to top-four hopefuls because, essentially, what little defending the Reds have to do, they do terribly.Why? Because their goalkeepers – no matter who is positioned in between the posts – are as weak as those stationed in front of them. Last season, only Swansea and Southampton had worse save percentages. So, did Liverpool buy a goalkeeper during the summer? No, they did not.Liverpool also lack any great ball-winners – no side lost more tackles than Liverpool last term, while, for all the talk of gegenpressing , they were the second worst team in the division when it came to interceptions. So, did they buy a midfield protector? No, they did not.Liverpool’s centre-halves are prone to shocking lapses in concentration and unforced errors – only West Ham made more errors leading directly to goals last season. So, did they buy a new defensive leader during the summer? No, they did not.Of course, Liverpool made signing a centre-half, Virgil van Dijk, their No.1 priority, but it is shocking that when that deal collapsed due to the Reds’ own incompetence, there was no plan B. It was Van Dijk or nobody, because Klopp felt that there were no upgrades to be found anywhere in Europe.He claimed: “We watched all of [their potential targets] 500 million times.” And yet Klopp did not feel any of them better than the centre-halves he presently has at his disposal.”They are all good out there but they are not that good that you say, ‘Yes, they help immediately.’ I had to make a decision and the decision was our boys are not worse than them.”Even more jarringly, Klopp challenged disbelieving journalists to “go out there and ask other teams whether they’d like to pick [our defenders]. You would be really surprised.”The surprise would be if any top side in Europe would want a Liverpool defender in their squad, let alone their starting line-up.Klopp seems to sincerely believe that Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly – one of those watched “500 million times” – or Roma’s Kostas Manolas, who was available for €40m, would not have represented a significant upgrade on Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan or Joe Gomez. That is a difficult concept for anyone who has seen all of those players in action to get their head around.Furthermore, his reasoning for not signing anyone other than his top target, Van Dijk, was that it would not have made sense to have spent money on a player that did not immediately improve the squad.Yet Liverpool bought Andrew Robertson for £8m, even though he was far from first choice when it came to acquiring a new left-back. Damningly, the Scotland international accounts for just under half of the sum total of the Reds’ spending on goalkeepers and defenders since Klopp’s appointment (£16.9m).That is made all the more baffling when the manager argued against spending money on a centre-half not good enough for the first team yet sanctioned the £40m acquisition of a ‘midfielder’ not good enough for the first team, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.The latest summer of recruitment was contradictory and confusing yet Klopp insists otherwise, meaning he is either in denial or delusional.Either way, he has no defence. Subscribe to Goal’s Liverpool Correspondent Neil Jones’ weekly email bringing you the best Liverpool FC writing from around the web