JAMIE CARRAGHER says he would REPLACE Virgil van Dijk at present as he tore old club Liverpool’s mini resurgence and defence to shreds.
The Reds had enjoyed two successive Premier League victories before last night’s crushing 5-2 round of 16 first leg 5-2 home defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Despite taking an early two-goal lead, the Spanish side bounced back to stun Anfield and almost certainly secure their place in the quarter finals.
And Liverpool legend Carragher was fuming afterwards as he embarked on a rant claiming that it was “nonsense” to have claimed the Reds “were back” following their recent successive victories.
Speaking as a pundit on CBS Sports, he said: “It was nonsense, absolute nonsense that Liverpool were back after the last two games. And that’s why I was cautious before the game.
“They played against an Everton team, one of the worst performances I’ve seen in a derby game from an Everton team who did nothing.
“I was at the Newcastle game as well. Newcastle had 10 men and created chances. If Newcastle had had 11 men all game, they’d have got back to 2-2, I’m convinced.
“Liverpool, right now and all season, as I’ve said before, have been an absolute shambles defensively. Now, this team had a great defensive record last season.
“But we know the midfield doesn’t have the energy anymore, the attacking players – the front three – don’t press like or certainly don’t have the cohesion that was there before with [Roberto] Firmino and [Sadio] Mane, so they’re new to it, [Darwin] Nunez and [Cody] Gakpo.
“So, this Liverpool defence now, who for years we’ve been told have some of the best players in the world, can’t cope because for years they’ve had a front six in front of them who probably worked harder and smarter than any other team in world football, and now that’s gone, it’s completely fell apart.”
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Carragher continued: “I keep – I wouldn’t say making excuses, it’s the wrong word – but because as a Liverpool fan, we absolutely adore this manager and his team, and they’ve done so much for the club in the last four of five years, it hurts to say anything negative because they’ve give you so much.
“But Liverpool are eighth in the Premier League, they’ve just been battered 5-2 in the Champions League. I know it’s Real Madrid but these are the two teams who were in the final last year. It’s not acceptable what we’re watching this season. We keep looking for reasons and excuses, but no, it’s nowhere near good enough.”
Liverpool defender Van Dijk recently hit back at criticism from Carragher by claiming that the legend would not be able to get in their current back four back in his prime.
However, Carragher added: “What makes me laugh, and I’m not that horrible, Virgil van Dijk said I wouldn’t get in that back four about two months ago. I think I’d take his place at the moment.
“Some of players there… Joe Gomez tonight – listen we’ve all had bad nights – and maybe I shouldn’t kick someone when they’re down because I’m sure he’ll feel terrible right now.
“We keep talking about midfield players who Liverpool need and I think that’s right, but I think Liverpool need defenders as well because when they get exposed they can’t defend.”