Liverpool: Klopp makes Man Utd penalty claim after loss
Liverpool can still win the Premier League title without signing a new centre-back, despite their disappointing loss at the hands of Southampton on Monday night with Jordan Henderson and Fabinho at the back, says John Barnes. His comments are in stark contrast to those of Jamie Carragher, who has previously stated that the Reds need reinforcements at the back.
Liverpool were disappointing at St Mary’s on Monday night as they slipped to their second defeat of the season to Southampton, leaving them level on points with Manchester United – who have played a game less.
Due to injuries suffered by Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, Jurgen Klopp was forced to play Henderson and Fabinho at the back.
The midfield duo couldn’t do a lot about Danny Ings’ goal, as the Saints forward looped the ball over Alisson Becker’s head to give Southampton the lead.
Liverpool will welcome Matip back before the end of the month, but Gomez and Van Dijk will miss the majority of the rest of the season.
And Carragher believes Klopp and Michael Edwards, Liverpool’s transfer guru, need to go all-out and try to sign a centre-back this month or forget about retaining the title.
Speaking on Monday night Football, he said: “I think, number one, it’s imperative Liverpool sign someone in January, that’s obvious.
“Liverpool…I can’t see Liverpool winning the league if they don’t bring in a centre-back.”
But Barnes believes they still have enough quality in their squad to retain the Premier League crown, and that they shouldn’t rush into buying a defender just for the sake of it.
“Long-term, Liverpool need better quality in defensive areas. They also need Jordan Henderson playing in midfield,” Barnes told BonusCodeBets.co.uk.
“Liverpool need a stop-gap defender – they’re probably not going to get the best centre-back in the world in January as that is not always the best time to buy and the best players are in the Champions League for their clubs.
“Liverpool need a centre-back, but they won’t get one for £60m who is going to come and play alongside Van Dijk when he’s fit.
“It is clear they need numbers in defensive positions because influential midfield players, Henderson and Fabinho, are playing in defence and you would much rather have them in midfield and getting a centre back will allow them to go back to their proper positions and that has more to do with why they lost against Southampton. Liverpool play best with Henderson, Wijnaldum, Thiago and Fabinho available in midfield with the front three.
“Liverpool’s most important positions are the midfield three, as they allow the front three to do what they do best.
“The centre-back issue is hurting the midfield by taking away players to play in a defensive role. Liverpool are not used to the current midfield playing every week so the front three players are not as fluid as they normally are when they haven’t got the regulars playing behind them.
“A centre-back will strengthen Liverpool and give them more of an opportunity to win the league, but I don’t think it is the deciding factor.
“Players coming back into the team that allows Henderson and Fabinho to play in the midfield will be used, so they can still win the title without signing another centre-back, they still can. It will strengthen the cause.”
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