Liverpool legend doubts Ben Davies is good enough to solve defensive crisis

Martin Macdonald
Martin Macdonald
  • Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST
  • 3 min read
Liverpool legend doubts Ben Davies is good enough to solve defensive crisis

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson doesn’t believe the signing of Ben Davies from Preston will prove to the solution to their current personnel problems at the back.

The Premier League champions currently have their two first choice defenders – Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez – out for the season while Joel Matip will now miss an extended period of action after suffering an injury against Tottenham last Thursday.

Younger players Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams have been brought in to help out, with key midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho also asked to play in the backline this season.

Liverpool need reinforcements in before the transfer window closes this Monday, and have identified Preston’s Davies as a short-term solution, as he will sign for just £2m due to his contract expiring this summer.

Lawrenson, a heralded defender in his day with the Reds, isn’t convinced by him, however.

“Ben Davies has done well at Preston and has let his contract run down so he was going to move on in the summer. If he’d gone to Celtic, which I’d heard had been agreed, then I was thinking he could do well there, but being honest I didn’t really see him as being good enough to be on Liverpool’s radar,” he told BBC Sport.

“He’s a real steady Eddie. He’s left-footed and quick enough but he’s not got phenomenal pace or anything like that. He’s been good in the Championship, very good.

“I’ve watched him and thought, up against the extra nous and quality you get in the Premier League, on top of extra pace, it will be a test for him. You wouldn’t want to just throw him in to face Manchester City next Sunday, put it that way.

“This is obviously a great move for him, I just can’t see him getting near the first team. Nat Phillips has done well when he’s come in and he is probably a better player.

“So, Davies would be behind him and also Rhys Williams, so even before Joel Matip comes back and the other two long-term injured players – Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez – he is going to be below them on the list. And Fabinho and Jordan Henderson too.

Lawrenson believes that Davies simply won’t play that very often for the Anfield side, but is happy for the player to get such a big move.

Ben Davies: Snapshot

2020/21 StatsValue
Starts19
Tackles39%
Duels Won P9066%
Aerial Duels Won P9064%
Ball Recoveries P904.7
Pass Completion79%
Championship

“I am not sure he will play very much at Liverpool, but the experience alone should be fabulous,” the BBC pundit added.

“I hope he experiences playing in the first team, but even if he is just sitting on the bench then it is still great for him.

“He has come through the ranks at Preston, learned his trade with loan spells in the lower divisions and improved a lot. He has done really well.

“Regardless of whether he gets a chance or not, it is a great move for him and Ben is a lovely lad. I’ve got to know him over the years and with people like that, you just think ‘great opportunity and good luck to you.”

Liverpool have reclaimed some form over the past week, defeated Tottenham and then West Ham, with Mohamed Salah back among the goals.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are currently four points adrift of league leaders Man City, whom they take on this weekend.