Brendan Rodgers
Brendan Rodgers added three defenders to his squad this summer. Getty

Former Manchester United and Everton defender Phil Neville believes Liverpool have a worse defence than last year, despite a £37m overhaul.

The Reds enjoyed a remarkable challenge for the Premier League title last season but were ultimately undone by weaknesses at the back after conceding 50 league goals – the worst record in the top five last term.

Manager Brendan Rodgers has sought to resolve those issues by signing Dejan Lovren from Southampton and Spanish full backs Alberto Moreno and Javi Manquillo from Sevilla and Atletico Madrid respectively, while finally cutting ties with Daniel Agger, who has returned to boyhood club Brondby.

But those changes have done little to address Liverpool's defensive problems, as the club have conceded eight goals in their first five games of the season, and Neville believes the Reds' problems are now worse than ever.

"I think defensively Liverpool look worse this season than they did last season," Neville told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"It was probably the defence which cost them the league title in the end of last season."

Liverpool's woes came under the spotlight on Saturday when Rodgers' side lost 3-1 to West Ham United at Upton Park, their third loss of the season and their second in a row.

Neville went on to suggest one reason for the club's continued troubles at the back is that opposing sides have "worked out" how to play against Liverpool and their attempts to deploy Steven Gerrard in a more defensive role.

"These young players need time to develop, but you also need, particularly when you go to West Ham, experience against them. They gave bad goals away" the former Everton and Manchester United defender said.

"I think the problem that Liverpool have got at the moment, particularly with Steven Gerrard dropping into that back three, teams have worked that out.

"Against Aston Villa last week [Gabriel] Agbonlahor just sat on Gerrard all game, they didn't let Steven Gerrard dictate the pace of the game, and that's what he did last season, particularly from Christmas onwards. On Saturday, Stewart Downing did it for West Ham."