September 23, 2021

Liverpool favourites to win Premier League if they sign a centre-back in January, says Carragher

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The Reds legend has backed his old club to defend their domestic crown, but only if they address a defensive crisis in the new year

Liverpool will be favourites to win the Premier League title again if they sign a centre-back in January, according to Jamie Carragher.

The Reds have made a solid start to their title defence by winning five, drawing two and losing only one of their opening eight Premier League fixtures.

Jurgen Klopp’s men are only one point behind leaders Leicester at the moment, having picked up a hard-earned 1-1 draw against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last time out.

However, Liverpool are facing an unprecedented injury crisis at the back after losing both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez to long-term injuries.

Joel Matip and Nathaniel Phillips are now the only natural centre-back options for Klopp to choose from, with Fabinho also likely to fill in at the back again once he returns from a hamstring issue.

The Reds have been tipped to dip into the winter transfer window for a new defender to provide cover in the second half of the season, and the likes of Dayot Upamecano, Kalidou Koulibaly and Ben White have all been mooted as potential targets.

Carragher thinks it is a necessity for his old club to bring in defensive reinforcements in order to continue their march towards a second consecutive title.

“I think if Liverpool buy a centre-back, and a good one, in January, I think they’ll take some stopping, I really do,” the former Liverpool defender told Punching.TV.

“Defensively, they have injury problems in that position (centre-back), and if they rectify that in January, I think Liverpool would be my favourites.

“But right now I think it’s 50/50 between them and Man City because of Liverpool’s injuries and the setback of Van Dijk.”

Carragher doesn’t think Klopp’s men will run away with the title in the same manner they did last season, with it his belief that a number of clubs will be in the mix for the trophy due to the more competitive nature of the division in the coronavirus climate.

He added: “I just don’t think there’ll be as big a gap between them (Liverpool and City) and the rest as we’ve seen in the last couple of years.”

Liverpool will start preparing for a top of the table clash against Leicester after the international break, with the Foxes set to arrive at Anfield on November 22.

The reigning Premier League champions will turn their attention back to the Champions League three days later as they are scheduled to play host to Italian side Atalanta, whom they beat 5-0 away from home on matchday three.