Defensive injuries no excuse for Liverpool flops, insists Carragher

Paul Macdonald
Defensive injuries no excuse for Liverpool flops, insists Carragher

Jamie Carragher has reiterated that Liverpool cannot use their defensive injury crisis as an excuse for their failing Premier League title defence.

The Reds have lost both first choice centre backs, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, to long-term knee problems this season, while their stand-ins Joel Matip have also since been sidelined.

Jordan Henderson, another player who has been forced to cover out of position, was also struck down at the weekend in the Merseyside Derby defeat to Everton, their first at Anfield since 1999.

After their fourth straight league loss left them 16 points off pace-setters Manchester  City, Carragher is adamant that Jurgen Klopp cannot hide behind his crowded treatment room.

“I said during commentary that ‘l am sick of talking about Virgil van Dijk’. And what l mean is that we have highlighted that throughout. Liverpool can’t win the league. I said that after the last league derby game. They can’t win the league with Van Dijk being out the whole season. That’s the big picture,” Carragher told Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.

“But the problems Liverpool have, with centre backs out and midfielders at centre back, does not mean they can’t win home games against Everton, Brighton, Burnley, West Brom. Manchester United, maybe. And Manchester City are real top quality.

“It’s not an excuse for individual games. No matter what problems you have as a Liverpool player, you can’t not win at home for six games. That is not acceptable. It’s not.”

Carragher added: “The reason I don’t want to use Virgil van Dijk as an excuse is because Liverpool started the game against Everton with 10 Champions League winners.

“That is why it is not an excuse in individual games. They have to find a way to win.”

January signings Ozan Kabak, from Schalke, and Preston’s Ben Davies have not alleviated the pressure as of yet, and Carragher has suggested Klopp offer them more protection in the coming weeks.

“I’ve played in teams not as good as this one,” continued Carragher. “But they find a way to win. We beat Everton twice with 10 men.

“So when we are talking about Jurgen Klopp doing something different, it’s not ripping everything up. Of course it is not. But l do think there could be there could be a tweaking in the system, maybe a 4-2-3-1, bringing in an extra attacking player in because Liverpool are struggling to score goals.

“Defensively, is there a case that they could they put the defence 10 yards further back? Liverpool never played this high when Jurgen Klopp first came in.

“With the high line they are playing at the moment, Kabak is struggling, Davies is coming in, (Nathaniel) Phillips is going to play and they need more protection.”