Former Premier League defenders cast doubt over Liverpool-linked Michael Keane

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville cast doubt over whether or not Michael Keane is a player that Liverpool should be looking at signing this summer.

Virgil van Dijk may be the defensive name most frequently linked with a move to Liverpool these days, but there have been a few others behind the Southampton star, one of which is Burnley’s Michael Keane.

The centre-back, a former Manchester United youngster, has made positive headlines in the English media after establishing himself as a regular starter in Sean Dyche’s line-up, helping the Clarets gain promotion to the Premier League and most recently book their place in the top flight for next season.

Keane’s exploits have also earned him a place in the England national team, with consistent reports linking him with a move to bigger challenges in Liverpool and Manchester United, amongst others.

Two former representatives of both clubs now turned pundits in Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have given their take on the young defender, with doubt the common factor despite their shared admiration of his ability.

“I like him,” Reds legend Carragher told Sky Sports. “I think he’s had a really good season.

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“It’s a big jump to go from Burnley to Liverpool and a completely different way of playing.

“If you are going to buy Michael Keane, it’s going to be £25m. He’s a young, English player.

“Is he better than Lovren and Matip? He’s maybe the same level.

“If you’re spending £25m on a centre-back he has to go straight in your team and make a massive difference. I don’t think he is quite at that level to come in and make a massive difference.”

Despite the two struggling to see eye to eye sometimes, Carragher’s Sky Sports colleague Neville agrees with his views and re-emphasised Liverpool’s need for a strong defender the mould of Carragher.

Neville said, “I agree. He gets cuddled at Burnley. The two full-backs come tight, it’s a tight midfield four, very compact, so you very rarely get exposed.

“I think that goal he conceded against Lukaku, I wouldn’t expect him to make that kind of mistake. But he’s still young. To make his England debut is a great achievement.

“He’s a great type, a great lad. He will be the type that’s a student. He will watch videos of himself in the week, he will want feedback, he will look after himself, he will be professional. Everything you want from a football player.

“Liverpool need that defence sorting out. They have conceded 50-plus goals for three, four, five years.

“They have not had a defensive lynchpin since he [Carra] retired. They have been changing around centre-back pairings and never really had a settled duo. It’s not right.”

Indeed it isn’t and Keane may not immediately make a massive difference at Liverpool should he be bought this summer, however, whoever invests in the young England international, Burnley included, will surely be putting good faith in a player who is surely set to continue his rapid growth.

Saints star Van Dijk is obviously the special one for Reds fans but he surely isn’t the only one and possibly following the Dutchman to Anfield – or even being an alternative for him – may just be Burnley’s Keane.

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