Liverpool should have learned from an injury crisis that Chelsea once experienced at centre-back, insists former player of both clubs Joe Cole.
The Reds’ Premier League title defence is slipping away from their grasp as they find themselves seven points behind Manchester City, who they face at Anfield on Sunday.
Liverpool’s latest setback saw them lose at home to Brighton on Wednesday nightAFP
Failure to win would leave Jurgen Klopp’s side with a mountain to climb if they’re to retain their Premier League crown, especially as City have a game in hand on them.
It’s been a frustrating campaign for Liverpool, who have struggled with injuries this season, particularly at centre-back with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both sustaining long-term complaints.
They’re not expected to feature for the rest of the season and neither is Joel Matip, who sustained an ankle ligament injury during Liverpool’s recent win over Tottenham.
This prompted Klopp to sign TWO new centre-backs in Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak, however, Cole believes the club should’ve splashed the cash considerably more.
Ben Davies, 25, joined Liverpool from Preston for £1.6millionGETTY
While Ozan Kabak, 20, has joined on loan with an option to buy for £18m in the summerGetty Images
Cole told talkSPORT: “I don’t necessarily feel for Jurgen Klopp because he’s had it his own way for the last two years but he has had it tough with injuries this year.
“I can’t see how they can do it [retain their title] . I love Jordan Henderson, I think he’s done a great job but when you drop a player in that specific role to play centre-half, it’s tough.
“We had a similar spell at Chelsea when injuries to Ricardo Carvalho, William Gallas and John Terry and we ended up playing with Michael Essien and Paulo Ferreira, who were fantastic players in their own right but having to shuffle your own centre-halves is a recipe for disaster.
“I think it’s a miracle that they’re in touching distance, missing Gomez, Van Dijk and Matip for so long so I can’t see Liverpool getting a result at the weekend.
Liverpool are likely to be without Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk for the rest of the season
“I’m surprised they didn’t go and spend some big money just to keep that momentum going in January.”
However, former Red Jason McAteer is excited by the signings of Davies and Kabak, insisting they’re not panic buys by Klopp.
McAteer told Free Super Tips: “You can’t question Liverpool’s recruitment. Since Jurgen Klopp has been the manager, there’s only been one or two that hasn’t worked out.
“Ben Davies has always been on Liverpool’s radar, he’s 25 and has played a lot of football in his career.
“He’s been in the right place to learn his trade and there was talk about a couple of clubs that were interested in him, as well as Liverpool. For Liverpool, signing Davies is a long-term project.
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“Over the next 18 months, Davies will be mentored at Liverpool. He will try to cement his place in the starting team and be a long-term partner with Virgil Van-Dijk, especially when Joe Gomez and Joel Matip can’t stay fit.
“With Ozan Kabak, he’s young and is coming with a lot of potential. We all know Jurgen Klopp has got a lot of friends in football who are advising him and are watching players around the world.
“He’s listened to his friend, David Wagner, who has sung Kabak’s praises and rates the defender highly.
“Kabak is a full Turkish international, having made seven appearances for the first team, he’s good in the air, good at set pieces, and Liverpool now gets the option to get a good look at him to see if they want to buy him in the summer.
“I wouldn’t say Liverpool have panic bought by bringing in two centre backs on Deadline Day, I believe it’s a good bit of business done by the club. I can see Ozan Kabak jumping straight into the team soon.”
McAteer believes Davies and Kabak have long futures at Liverpool