Soccer

Carragher’s Liverpool transfer demand after admitting concerns over young stars

Jamie Carragher has concerns over Liverpool’s defence after their latest injury setback.

Joel Matip was forced off after an hour of the Reds’ 1-1 draw with West Brom at Anfield.

The injury-prone centre-half suffered a muscle problem, which was confirmed by Jurgen Klopp to be his adductors.

It leaves Liverpool with food for thought less than a week before the January transfer window opens.

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez remained sidelined long term as they continue their rehab after respective serious knee injuries.

Klopp probably regrets letting Dejan Lovren go earlier this year, as he has been limited defensively for senior, recognised options.

Fabinho has stepped in admirably, while young duo Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips have largely been impressive.

But whether Liverpool will have enough to see off their rivals in the battle to defend their Premier League crown is another matter.

The Reds sit three points clear of current nearest challengers Everton, while Leicester, Manchester United and Manchester City are not far further back amid the busy New Year period.

After the West Brom game, Sky Sports pundit and co-commentator Carragher discussed Liverpool’s situation and the dilemmas they face.

Addressing the Matip injury, he admitted: "It's a massive worry but it's not a new worry. Joel Matip will not play every game between now and the end of the season, you know that even before the injury today and that's why it's paramount Liverpool sign someone in January.

“I said that as soon as Virgil van Dijk has his injury against Everton. I mean, Fabinho has gone there and looked like a top class centre-back so maybe people at the club felt like it wasn't as urgent.

“But Joel Matip is just too injury prone, his body can't take the rigours of playing Premier League football week in week out. We know that since he joined.

"I still believe Liverpool are the best team in this league, even without Van Dijk, and I think most people would say they're favourites to win the league.

“I think the only way they don't win it is if they have problems at centre-back where Rhys Williams or Nat Phillips have to play for a prolonged period of time.

“The odd game, coming in now and again, they done really well, fantastic. But I know that's the position I played, it's not really a position for young players as such. And at times they will make mistakes because they are young players, they’re learning and I think that's the only way it could cost Liverpool.

“And I don't necessarily mean bring in a centre-back for £70m-£80m, like a Van Dijk signing, and not necessarily someone to go straight in the team, just someone there so Liverpool don't end up with two young lads at some stage if Fabinho was to go down injured. Because at this moment Liverpool Football Club have one senior centre-back who's available this season and he's injury prone. So they have to, have to do something in January."

Asked what was more frustrating out of their lack of creation or being breached by West Brom, Carragher continued: "I think being breached really. It's nothing new when teams come to Anfield, certainly Sam Allardyce's teams, or any teams coming to Anfield or top teams, that you defend like that.

"Jurgen Klopp is right we played in those games ourselves – it is difficult to create when there's so many men behind the ball so the important thing is to not give the opposition a chance.

“And that's what Liverpool did in the second half. You talk about the actual goal, where the corner came from, it was sloppy from Curtis Jones on the edge of the box, Rhys Williams heads it out for a corner. Before that Andy Robertson mis-kicked one, it went for a corner.

“It was their own making really. That's why I felt West Brom deserved a point. They looked a lot more threatening and got their balance spot on in some ways in that second half between being defensively resolute and creating chances themselves."

One potential option for Liverpool in the transfer window is Schalke’s Ozan Kabak, who has been scouted for over a year now, and he is available for a cut-price £22m with the Bundesliga side in trouble.

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