Premier League • England

Carragher claims Liverpool won’t win anything unless they sign upgrade to replace struggling star

Jamie Carragher May 2022

Jamie Carragher has questioned the direction Liverpool are heading as a club and fears they will struggle to win the game’s top prizes if they don’t go out and sign a replacement for a homegrown hero.

The Reds sealed their inevitable Champions League exit at the hands of bogey side Real Madrid on Wednesday. Their 1-0 loss on the night sealed a 6-2 aggregate win; most of the damage done in the first leg at Anfield. But their elimination means Liverpool – so close to a quadruple last season – will now finish this campaign trophyless.

After the game, Klopp admitted that his side never looked like clawing back their 5-2 first-leg defeat.

And it leaves the Reds with just one mission left for the season: qualify for the Champions League again with a top-four finish.

There are numerous explanations for Liverpool’s struggles this season. The loss of Sadio Mane; the struggles to gel for their new-look attack; a midfield that badly needs upgrading; players running out of steam; Jurgen Klopp’s general seven-year career itch.

Whatever the excuse – and perhaps it’s a combination of all the above – there are several Liverpool players not at their best this season.

And in the wake of Wednesday’s defeat, Jamie Carragher has turned the heat on one man in particular.

While the pundit and Liverpool old boy admits he’s “proud” of Trent Alexander-Arnold, he claims he badly needs help at right-back.

What’s more, Carragher believes the Reds will struggle to return to their best unless he’s replaced in the position.

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Carragher: Liverpool need to replace Trent Alexander-Arnold

Carragher has been playing in a Liverpool side for years that have been able to cover for his mistakes. But he says there is a reason he regularly is overlooked by England.

And after his latest blunder in the Bernabeu loss, Carragher says enough is enough.

“That cant continue, what’s happened this season and the amount of times he’s been lacking defensively,” Carragher told CBS Sport.

He added: “He’s won everything, done fantastic and I’m so proud of him, but he needs help. He needs to have a long think at the end of the season about where he is as a right-back.

“I’ve always defended him and he’s played for one of the best teams in the world. That means you do a lot more attacking than you do defending.

“We all know his defending isn’t good enough – and I don’t think it will ever be good enough.

“We’re talking about a player who’s played 260 games now – it is not going to massively improve. When Liverpool drop off and aren’t one of the best in Europe, now they’re one of the pack. They now do more defending, less attacking. You see the worst traits of Trent and not his strengths going forward and that’s a massive problem.”

Star requires help

Carragher insists while he does still see a future for Liverpool with Alexander-Arnold, he feels he may need to be taken out the firing line.

“If Liverpool are trying to qualify for the Champions League on a yearly basis, I’m not sure Trent is your man at right-back. If they get back to being one of Europe’s best, then he is your man. But right now he needs help,” he added.

Carragher makes a fair point and it was one that Real Madrid were quick to expose over both legs of the tie.

The point was shared by Rio Ferdinand, who, speaking to BT Sport, also spoke of his defence weakness.

“I just want to take it back, what I want you to see is as the ball goes into the centre forward, Trent Alexander-Arnold – here he is.

“You’ve got to be thinking defensively, you’ve got to be thinking ‘my two centre halves are in trouble, there’s gonna be a chance and there could be a ball coming in here at some point’, or at least ‘let me get myself back in to cover my defenders’. That’s got to be your first and only thought in this phase of play.

“The ball goes through, then look at the separation as the ball comes down to Vinicius there. As he touches that ball, he’s gone from being side-by-side to being five yards behind the player he was marking. That’s a world class attacking player who you can’t take your eyes off.

“How he’s got separation within two seconds-ish to get five yards and a chance at goal, he’ll be looking at that and thinking I could do better there, Trent, because you can’t switch off at this level.”

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