It is “paramount” that Liverpool hire a central defender in the January transfer window after Joel Matip suffered another injury, says former star Jamie Carragher.
The Reds’ defensive crisis worsened Sunday when the 29-year-old was withdrawn in the second half of his 1-1 draw with West Brom.
The reigning Premier League champions no longer have star defender Virgil van Dijk, who suffered a cruciate ligament injury in October and could be out of the game until April.
Although coach Jurgen Klopp has the likes of Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips to call teammate Fabinho to the heart of the baseline, Carragher feels he needs to provide additional coverage as soon as possible.
He told Sky Sports: “It is a huge concern, but it is not a new concern. Joel Matip will not play every game from now until the end of the season. We knew that even before today’s injury, that is why it is paramount that Liverpool sign someone in January. I said it as soon as Virgil van Dijk was injured against Everton.
“Fabinho went there and looked like a first-class center back in that position, so maybe the people at the club felt that the need was not so urgent. But Joel Matip is too prone to injuries, his body can’t stand the rigor of playing the Premier League week after week, we know that since he joined, he’s a really good player.
“I still believe that Liverpool are the best team in this league, even without Van Dijk and I think most people would say that they are the favorite to win the Premier League. The only way they don’t win it is if they have problems in central defense, where Rhys Williams or Nat Phillips have to play for an extended period of time. A strange match every now and then, they’ve done fantastic, but I know, since that’s the position I played in, it’s not really a position for young players as such. Sometimes they will make mistakes because they are young players, they are learning.
“That’s the only way it could cost Liverpool, and I don’t necessarily mean bringing in a center-back for £ 70-80 million as some kind of Van Dijk signing, and not necessarily someone who goes directly to the team. Just someone there so Liverpool don’t end up with two guys at some point for five or six weeks if Fabinho is injured.
“Right now Liverpool have a senior center player who is available this season and is prone to injury, so they have to do something in January.”
Liverpool are now three points clear at the top of the Premier League after 15 matches and will face Newcastle on Wednesday in their final match of 2020.