Liverpool and Arsenal showcase the growing disease in English football

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Liverpool and Arsenal played out what was dubbed a seven-goal "thriller" in the opening game of the season but it highlighted a growing problem.

England head coach Roy HodgsonFormer England head coach Roy Hodgson

When England were sent packing from Euro 2016 by little old Iceland in the summer the usual inquest was opened into the national side's failings.

Was it the manager, the players, the formation, the media pressure, too much expectation, not enough expectation?

Football fans up and down the country all had their own opinions and theories, radio phone-ins and social media were abuzz with hypotheses to fix the problem.

And the recent struggles of Premier League clubs in the Champions League suggest it is a problem with the game in this country itself and not only the national side.

One of the most common explanations regularly trotted out by pundits and fans alike is the lack of English players representing the clubs in the Premier League and indeed Champions League.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp and Arsenal manager Arsene WengerLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

A case for the defence

But Liverpool's opening weekend 4-3 win over Arsenal at the Emirates is a more likely indicator of the problem at large.

Yes there were bags of goals and the Premier League and broadcasters were rubbing their hands after another successful export to the watching millions worldwide.

And some of the attacking play on display was fantastic.

However it is that ever increasing focus on the attacking side of the game, filling squads with attacking midfielders and forwards in the hope your team can outscore the opposition which is holding English football back.

The art of defending has long been forgotten in the English game, as evidenced by the Anfield side's rollercoaster triumph in North London.

Arsenal's Rob Holding dejected after the matchWenger's summer defensive recruit Rob Holding dejected after the match

Gunners frailties and Liverpool collapse in same game highlights serious problem

Even at 4-1 up Jurgen Klopp's side showed such fragility at the back with the Gunners nearly staging a comeback.

Arsene Wenger and Klopp overlooked a born leader in the shape of Ashley Williams as he left Swansea City for Everton last week.

Wenger has been under fire for failing to sign a top quality centre back during Arsenal's barren years since their last title triumph.

Klopp meanwhile is in the middle of a rebuilding job at Anfield but defending has not been his side's forte since he took over on Merseyside.

Portugal celebrate with the trophy after winning Euro 2016Portugal celebrate with the trophy after winning Euro 2016

Time to learn from other European nations

Just look at the Italians in Euro 2016 and the passion they showed for defending, enjoying a shutout or goal line clearance as much as scoring.

The Germans and even Spain are the same and built on solid foundations while eventual winners Portugal literally won the tournament on their defensive strength alone.

Clubs and the English national side must get back to focusing on building from a solid base and place more importance and emphasis on the defensive side of the game if our teams are to prosper again.

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