Jamie Carragher has stressed that Liverpool’s biggest task for the upcoming transfer window does not lie in buying a new centre-back.
The Reds have endured a big drop-off from their Champions League and Premier League-winning peaks this season. Despite sitting top of the league at Christmas, they now face a struggle to make the top four. While their away form has proved fairly stable, Jurgen Klopp‘s men have only scored three goals from open play at Anfield in 2021.
However, injuries to centre-backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have loomed large as big influences in Liverpool’s downturn.
The pair’s absence has not only lost the club two vital players, but caused a shift in personnel and intensity.
Nevertheless, their forward line has remained largely injury-free, albeit struggling for goals; while Mohamed Salah has scored his fair share of goals this season, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have dropped off.
Amid all the talk about their rearguard, Carragher has insisted that Liverpool‘s forward line is in bigger need of a redress.
“People have talked about the forward line being out of form, but it’s been too long now for that [to be used as an argument],” he told Sky Sports.
“People keep talking about Liverpool’s problems at centre back, but their biggest problem is at the other end of the pitch.
“They’ve had the added bonus of Diogo Jota, who’s chipped in with a few goals, but I said this six months ago on Monday Night Football – the front three needed breaking up because no front three is ever together for this long.
“When you look at other great attacking partnerships and front threes from the past, they last probably three years and then you move on.
“Liverpool’s have been together for probably four or five years so it does need breaking up in the summer.”
Mane, Salah and Firmino joined forces in the 2017/18 season – their most explosive with 91 goals scored between them.
The trio then fired the Reds to Champions League glory in 2019 and Premier League triumph in 2020.
Liverpool centre-back transfers
Nevertheless, this season’s problems mean that centre-back remains a key area of Klopp’s squad which needs addressing.
January loan signing Ozan Kabak could yet persuade Anfield chiefs to offer him a permanent deal.
However, RB Leipzig’s Ibrahima Konate is reportedly a firm target and Leipzig’s CEO has confirmed that he wants four players to leave in a squad-trimming operation.