Barcelona’s 7-0 thrashing of Levante last night should have brought huge smiles to the faces of Brendan Rodgers and Jose Mourinho.
Barcelona removed any fears or anxiety connected to the make up of their time, as they started their La Liga defence with a quite blistering performance against a Levante side who looked like rabbits caught in headlights.
The main criticism of the current Barca side looking back to last season and over this summer has been the back four.
There has been a big question mark hanging over the club and whether they have the defensive reserves needed to hold off the challenge of Real Madrid domestically and make a stronger fist of things in European football.
Well the partnership of Javier Mascherano and Gerard Pique looked right at home, showing very few signs of weakness, justifying recent comments made by Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino.
“A new centre-back? I'm happy with the team I have. There's always the January window if we need anything. Last year's problems in the defence were the result of injuries. We have enough options if everybody's fit,” said the gaffer.
It’s good news for Liverpool and Chelsea because it suggests that reported pursuits of Daniel Agger and David Luiz will no longer be followed up on, leaving both clubs safe in the knowledge that they will retain some of their best defensive talent.
Liverpool could not have afforded to lose Agger because Rodgers has already been operating on the limit of Liverpool’s budget and because there isn’t too much cover after the Danish defender.
Losing Agger would have left a gaping great hole in Liverpool’s back four, leaving Rodgers to rely on someone like Martin Skrtel who doesn’t exactly enjoy the best relationship with the boss following problems last season.
As far as Jose Mourinho is concerned at Chelsea, it’s good news because of David Luiz’s versatility as a defensively minded player.
Having him in the squad gives the Portuguese coach options in the back four as well as cover at defensive midfield when the likes of Ramires and Michael Essien are not available.
What could change the situation is how Barcelona cope with early Champions League games heading into the winter and the January transfer window.
If defensive frailties are exposed again up to that point, it could force them to become much more aggressive if they choose to focus on players like Agger and David Luiz but all the indications from their first La Liga game of the season suggest they are a very well oiled machine at the moment.
What do you think? Can Liverpool and Chelsea rest easy?
image: © kong niffe