John Barnes has insisted that Liverpool can still win the Premier League without signing a new centre back this month.
Liverpool have suffered from a lot of bad luck when it comes to injuries this season. Their first-choice centre backs – Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez – have both suffered potentially season-ending injuries.
This has left the Premier League champions severely short of options at centre back. Jurgen Klopp’s side have had to call upon the inexperienced duo of Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips.
Last time out against Southampton, Klopp started two centre midfielders in defence as Fabinho and Jordan Henderson partnered each other in the back four.
On Monday night, Jamie Carragher claimed that Liverpool cannot retain the title if they do not sign a new centre back this month.
Barnes disagrees, however. He told BonusCodeBets that Liverpool do need better “quality” in defence, but Barnes suggested that they can still win the league:
“Long-term, Liverpool need better quality in defensive areas. They also need Jordan Henderson playing in midfield.
“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.
“You would much rather have them in midfield. 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.”