Liverpool was only able to bag one win from the last five matches, and Jamie Carragher mentioned the absence of their key defender Virgil van Dijk is the reason for the losses.
Van Dijk is out of the main squad since 17 October 2020, when he faced a challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. Later it was reported that he suffered from an ACL right knee injury and he needs to get surgery. Therefore, he would be out of the team for six to twelve months. He underwent successful surgery on 30 October 2020.
Since Van Dijk’s injury, key figures like Fabinho, James Milner, Joel Matip, Diogo Jota and Joe Gomez are also out of the squad because of injuries. Hence, with most of their key defenders out led to the weakening of the steel wall defense of Liverpool.
Because of this reason, it affected the gameplay of the team, as it forced the midfielders to move back to the center-back.
What Jamie Carragher got to say about Virgil van Dijk’s injury?
The former Liverpool star Carragher recently reported that the absence of the Dutch defender is a disaster for the squad. It disables the Reds to even win a home-ground match. They lost all the past five home-ground matches in the League. The biggest disappointment for the team was losing the infamous Merseyside derby in the Reds’ home.
It now seems like an impossible dream to take the League trophy to Anfield this year. In 2020, Liverpool won the league with 99 points. Whereas they ranked sixth in this season with 40 points from the 25 games they played. They are 19 points behind the ranked first Manchester City.
“I said during commentary that ‘l am sick of talking about Virgil van Dijk’. And what l mean is that we have highlighted that throughout. Liverpool can’t win the league. I said that after the last league derby game. They can’t win the league with Van Dijk being out the whole season. That’s the big picture,” Carragher reported to Sky Sports.
He added, “But the problems Liverpool have, with center backs out and midfielders at center back, does not mean they can’t win home games against Everton, Brighton, Burnley, West Brom. Manchester United, maybe. And Manchester City is real top quality.”
The former Red Star also reported that blaming everything on Van Dijk is wrong too. As the team has players who led the team to League victory last year. Therefore, losing six home matches is unacceptable and it cannot continue.
He said, “It’s not an excuse for individual games. No matter what problems you have as a Liverpool player, you can’t win at home for six games. That is not acceptable. It’s not.
“The reason I don’t want to use Virgil van Dijk as an excuse because Liverpool started the game against Everton with 10 Champions League winners.
“That is why it is not an excuse in individual games. They have to find a way to win.”
What advice did Carragher get for Liverpool?
In the interview, Carragher also mentioned it was Everton’s first away derby win after 20 years. He mentioned playing with a team, which was not as good as the current team. Yet they defeated Everton twice in a home match.
Carragher said, “I’ve played in teams not as good as this one,
“But they find a way to win. We beat Everton twice with 10 men.”
The ex Liverpool player advised the Liverpool coach to make some changes to the team, like adding an extra forward player to the attack force of the team. As the team also could not score goals in the past matches. For the defense, he advised moving back the defense players by 10 yards.
“So when we are talking about Jurgen Klopp doing something different, it’s not ripping everything up. Of course, it is not. But l do think there could be there could be tweaking in the system, maybe a 4-2-3-1, bringing in an extra attacking player because Liverpool is struggling to score goals.
“Defensively, is there a case that they could put the defense 10 yards further back? Liverpool never played this high when Jurgen Klopp first came in.” Carragher advised Klopp.
He added, “With the high line they are playing at the moment, Kabak is struggling, Davies is coming in, Phillips is going to play and they need more protection.”
What can we expect next from Liverpool in the future matches?
The Reds are out of the top four places in Premier League and also lost the first Leg match of Round of 16 against RB Leipzig by 0-2 in the UEFA Champions League.
Reds will next play against Sheffield United on 1 March 2021 and next, they will face Chelsea who is above them on the Premier League table. Liverpool will also face RB Leipzig again on 11 March for the Leg Two of Round of 16 in the Champions League. If they lose the match to Leipzig again, it will knock them out of the Champions League.
We can expect Klopp to come up with some strategies to improve the performance to survive the dire situation they are in.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 22, 2021