Mark Lawrenson says communication is the big factor that can help improve Liverpool's defence

As well as struggling in the final third, the Reds are trying to address their leaky defence which is costing them dear.

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson has backed the Reds' defence to come good this season as they try and tighten up at the back.

The Reds conceded 50 Premier League goals last season, with many critics citing it as the main reason they fell short in their title challenge last term. 

Their defensive troubles have continued this season as well having only kept two clean sheets in 16 competitive matches, despite spending £20 million on Dejan Lovren to bring leadership to the heart of defence, £12 million on left-back Alberto Moreno, and bringing in young right-back Javier Manquillo on a two-year loan deal from Atletico Madrid.

But Lawrenson told the official Liverpool website that he thinks it is down to one thing, communication.

He said: "It's not a lack of ability and it's not a lack of working on the problems on the training ground and trying to iron them out - that will happen, you know that will happen," Lawrenson told

"As much as anything, it's communication. We have got Manquillo, Moreno and Lovren as new players; they will all be in the position that we have all been in before of trying to justify your ability.

"When the team is not playing well, everything is exaggerated. Start scoring a few goals, start winning games and I do think the rest will come."

The pressure has intensified on the defence this season to sort out their issues given the goals have dried up at the opposite end of the field. The Reds have lost Luis Suarez to Barcelona but Daniel Sturridge has been missed all but three of Liverpool's fixtures this season as they have struggled in front of goal.

Lovren in particular has come in for some criticism given the price-tag, and that he was touted as the man to address several leadership issues at the back.

Mamadou Sakho has recently said he thinks he is capable of marshalling the defence but seems unfancied by Rodgers as he prefers the duo of Lovren and Martin Skrtel.

There have been a couple of occasions where Rodgers has chopped and changed the full-back positions, and that is perhaps an area where the he needs to keep the side settled as they look for that formula that tightens things up at the back.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch