Liverpool legend and former centre half Jamie Carragher has launched an all out assault on their defence, claiming no player on earth could improve it.
Jamie Carragher has not held back following Saturday afternoon’s 3-3 draw with Watford at Vicarage Road.
The former England and Liverpool Football Club centre half insisted that personnel isn’t the only issue facing Liverpool’s defence and even signing Virgil van Dijk – an obvious upgrade on what they have now – wouldn’t make much of a difference.
Speaking on Sky Sports following Watford’s last gasp equaliser, Carragher was scathing in his assessment of the Reds’ defending as a whole – not just their back four – and expressed his frustration at Klopp’s insistence on utilising a zonal marking system at set pieces.
“Van Dijk is better, that’s why they’re going to spend £50 or £60 million on him,” he said.
“But I don’t care how good a centre-back, getting exposed on counter-attacks, you’ve got to cover the full width of the pitch, it’s almost impossible. What defenders can do it? He will help, but on set-pieces it’s not about the defence. Everyone has got their own individual job.
“The way Liverpool set up, set-piece-wise, they’re always going to concede goals. I don’t care what defenders they go and buy, how much they’re going to cost, it won’t make a difference. He wouldn’t be in Firmino’s position (for the corner), he would have been in Lovren’s or Matip’s because they’d have been coming out of the team.
“Hopefully he’d make a difference on set-pieces, he’s a bit taller, but if he was playing today instead or Lovren of Matip, he’d have been in their position.”
Jamie Redknapp – speaking alongside the former defender for the post-match analysis – argued that a leader like van Dijk would help organise the defence and provide them further solidity and confidence when defending these situations. Carragher, on the other hand, wasn’t buying it, preferring to highlight the Reds’ systematic problems as the bigger issue.
“One man isn’t going to improve (set-piece defending), that has got to come down to the manager,” he added.
“Whether it’s zonal marking, the players he puts in certain positions, the positions of the full-backs in general play are far too high and wide for me, which gets centre-backs exposed.
“I don’t care who is at centre-back, you can’t do that much to stop those goals. They’re awful defensively, one man won’t change that. If you want to challenge for the Premier League, or win the Premier League, you’ve got to be conceding less than a goal a game: 30, 35 goals.
“So Liverpool have got to take 15 goals away that they concede year in, year out.
“It’s the setup of the manager, he’s been here now 18 months: set-pieces are the worst in the league, conceded the most goals of the top six, there’s still no change. We’re still seeing the same things year in, year out, and it went back to Brendan Rodgers as well.
“It’s not rocket science how Liverpool concede goals: set-pieces and counter-attacks.”