Jamie Carragher is Liverpool’s biggest missing piece

If it was possible to reboot any Liverpool legend into Jurgen Klopp’s current side, Jamie Carragher is exactly the sort of player that the Reds could do with right now.

Of course, the likes of Steven Gerrard and Kenny Dalglish will spring to mind first for most, but is that what Liverpool need? Sadio Mane and co have scored the most goals in the Premier League this season, so whilst two of the Reds best ever players would be excellent to bring back, they’re not essential.

It is in defence where fans have been left frustrated. In comparison to rivals, Jurgen Klopp’s defence has leaked goals; the most out of any club in the top seven, and the same amount as 10th placed Southampton. It’s not good enough, and it’s making Liverpool’s challenge for the top four a treacherous one.

The Reds are relinquishing their fear factor. It’s too frequent that weaker opposition will capitalise upon individual errors and create chances with ease from simple counter attacks. The back four lacks leadership and organisation, which makes Jamie Carragher the player that Liverpool needed to fix their defensive woes.

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Goals from the legendary centre-half were a rarity. He didn’t provide the flair or goal threat of a Sergio Ramos, but he was always assured in defence. Could Liverpool say that about any of their current centre-backs? The only player who has stood-out this season is Joel Matip.

Arguably, Jurgen Klopp has let go of the back four’s biggest leader in Mamadou Sakho, who has more than proven his worth at Crystal Palace; three games, three clean sheets. The last time that Liverpool managed that in the Premier League was in January 2015.

The benefits of leadership in defence can often be underestimated. It’s a key aspect of the game, and what transforms technically gifted defenders from good to great. Easy examples to note are the likes of Thiago Silva and Giorgio Chiellini.

Effectively, the very best defenders are all leaders – they raise the performance of their team mates. Look at Jamie Carragher’s influence in 2011 against Manchester City – Liverpool won 3-0 with debutant, Jon Flanagan and illustrious midfield player, Jay Spearing in the side. This wouldn’t have been possible without the guidance of the Liverpool vice-captain.

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There’s no way Liverpool would have conceded 36 goals in 29 games with Carragher in the side.  The Liverpool man may not always have performed on the international stage, but his club form was unquestionable. From managing the defence to last ditch challenges, the Anfield legend’s bravery was unmatched. As a result, it’s no surprise to see that the former PFA team of the year defender hauled in no shortage of trophies over his career spanning across 700 appearances.

It doesn’t look like Liverpool will be replicating the Carragher and Sami Hyypia partnership at the back anytime soon – the Reds defence is nowhere near as good as it used to be. Whilst Matip and Sakho could be the answer to Jurgen Klopp’s defensive fragilities, the German manager remains stubborn over the on-loan Frenchman.

Should there be no way back for Sakho, it’s clear what Liverpool need to aim for in the transfer market; a leader. Away from the era of the likes of John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Sol Campbell – there’s not many to choose from today. It looks like Liverpool will be sending more money over to Southampton.

 

Carragher would be earning a fortune judging by the estimated values of the current Liverpool squad…