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Manchester City's defensive problems were laid bare in defeat at Anfield

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MARTIN KEOWN: Man City's defensive problems were laid bare in defeat at Anfield... the club's shaky back line could cost the champions their titleManchester City's defensive issues were laid bare in defeat against Liverpool It is possible to pick out faults for all three goals shipped at Anfield on SundayCity set incredible standards last season and Liverpool have risen to the task The champions' current ranks will not be enough to retain their league title 

Vincent Kompany was sat in the Sky Sports studio at Anfield, suited and booted, but how Manchester City must wish he was still playing for them. 

City’s defensive problems, with Aymeric Laporte and goalkeeper Ederson both sidelined, were there for all to see. 

You could pick faults with each of the three goals they conceded on Sunday, from Ilkay Gundogan’s poor clearance for the first to Kyle Walker’s slack marking for the third. 

Manchester City's defensive problems were there for all to see in the defeat against Liverpool

City set incredible standards last season and Liverpool have risen to the challenge. Now, Pep Guardiola’s men are nine points adrift of their rivals. Guardiola is an outstanding manager and he will know deep down that his back line is not at the same level as Jurgen Klopp’s. 

With what City currently have at their disposal defensively, I’m not sure it is enough for them to win the league. John Stones looks devoid of confidence. Nicolas Otamendi, an unused substitute on Sunday, has not been selected to start in the Premier League since early October — in their 2-0 home loss to Wolves. 

City cannot wait to get Laporte back, and do not have someone like Kompany to call on in the meantime. What a fixture list ahead of them, too, with Premier League games against Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Leicester before Christmas. 

Maybe City will look to fix this problem in the transfer market. Whether they do that in January or wait until the summer, that is down to Guardiola. But certainly a centre back has to be their top priority. 

City had set incredible standards last season but Liverpool have risen to the challenge

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