Former defender Jamie Carragher has suggested Liverpool shouldn’t wait to sign a defensive midfielder next summer amid their challenge for the title.
The ex-Liverpool defender expressed in his column for the Telegraph that he doesn’t believe his former club can win the title this season because of their lack of a true defensive midfielder.
This summer saw the departures of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho who had both been integral players in that position for Jurgen Klopp but there was no direct like-for-like replacement.
Alexis Mac Allister has been the main option there this season and he has been a dependable figure, but his overall attributes surely suit him playing slightly further forward.
Then there’s Wataru Endo who has featured mostly off the bench in the league and found a regular starting role in the Europa League and Carabao Cup.
Speaking in his column in the Telegraph, Carragher made the honest revelation that he believes Liverpool need another signing – a true defensive midfielder – and that he is unsure why they would want to wait and see, rather than going out and acquiring what they need for this season.
“There have been signs of promise from the recent signings like Dominik Szoboszlai, and those who joined the club over the last 18 months like Cody Gakpo and Darwin Núñez, but they have not shown they can produce week after week in the same way as Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino at their peak.
“The much talked about new midfield is not fully functioning yet, the trio of Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister and Ryan Gravenberch impressing in moments rather than in back-to-back fixtures.
“For Liverpool to maintain their position at the top, that has to change and the additions must raise their level from promising and occasionally good to consistently outstanding. A decision may be looming in January regarding a top No 6. If there is one out there, why not push for it now rather than wait?”
Options on the market are relatively thin for this position; Liverpool lost out to Chelsea with Romeo Lavia and Moises Caicedo in the summer but Fulham’s Joao Palhinha at 28 years of age is the most obvious signing for any top side needing a midfielder protector.
The Portuguese midfielder led the tackle charts by a considerable distance in his debut campaign and he has continued his form to lead once again this season. He was close to a move to Bayern Munich in the summer but it fell through on deadline day leaving him to return to Fulham.
His age goes against Liverpool’s current transfer policy but the club were quick to invest in Endo who is already 30 and Palhinha has already proven to be a far superior player.