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Jamie Carragher insists Liverpool will not win the Premier League unless they sign a centre-back this month. The Reds are currently without their three senior centre-backs, with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez expected to miss most of the season at least following knee surgeries and Joel Matip out for a few weeks with an adductor problem.
Fabinho has performed admirably at centre-back this season and youngsters Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams have also impressed in appearances when called upon.
But last night’s 1-0 defeat to Southampton means Liverpool have not won in three matches, after draws with Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion, meaning they only lead the Premier League table on goal difference, with second place Manchester United having a game in hand.
Carragher told Sky Sports: “The results Liverpool have had recently have nothing to do with them defensively. It’s going forward that is the problem.
“But l just think that it’s imperative Liverpool sign someone in January. [Jordan] Henderson isn’t a centre-back.
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“I can’t see Liverpool winning the league if they don’t bring in a centre-back. They have enough quality to go for the title if they don’t bring someone in. But unless they do, it’s a really tough ask.”
Van Dijk has been out of action since October’s Merseyside derby when Jordan Pickford’s challenge resulted in the defender requiring surgery on the damaged anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
The Netherlands international started training with a ball again last month and has since posted a video of him working hard on an exercise bike, but he is not expected to return for several months.
Gomez also required knee surgery in November after suffering an injury in England training, while Matip suffered an adductor injury in the 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion on December 27.
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Liverpool have been linked with several centre-backs in recent weeks, with Schalke star Ozan Kabak, Perr Schuurs of Ajax and Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar all said to be possible targets.
This isn’t the first time Carragher has questioned why Liverpool are not pushing hard to sign a centre-back.
Last week he wrote in the Telegraph: “The injury to Virgil Van Dijk alone will cost Liverpool between nine and 12 points over the course of this season.
“And although Fabinho has proved a fantastic deputy at the back, Joel Matip’s ongoing problems means, to me at least, that it is inconceivable that Liverpool will not sign another centre-half at the earliest opportunity.
“I cannot understand the logic of not doing so. The club needed one anyway.
“If Matip continues to be in and out of the side, and then Fabinho gets injured, how can Liverpool expect to perform at the highest level with only the inexperienced Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips to step in? That is too big a risk.
“The way Liverpool have dealt with the loss of key players so far shows they will still take some stopping, but it will not be as one-sided as last year and failing to sign another defender will only lift the hopes of everyone else.”
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