Jamie Carraghers defensive liability criticism no longer a problem for Liverpool

Klopp responds to Guardiola's latest praise of Liverpool

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Jamie Carragher once called one of Liverpool’s star players a ‘defensive liability’, but his criticism is now no longer an issue. Liverpool have been thriving this year, and the star he singled out is loving life in a different role.

Liverpool no longer have a problem despite Jamie Carragher’s previous criticism, as he complained that they had a ‘defensive liability’ last season.

The Reds have been in sublime form this season, and they are still on course to win the quadruple after already scooping up the Carabao Cup. They are favourites to win both the FA Cup and the Champions League, but are just behind Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title.

It’s hard to pinpoint a weak area in Liverpool’s side this season, as everyone has impressed as a unit under Jurgen Klopp. But last season was a very different narrative, and Carragher labelled one of Liverpool’s most impressive performers as a ‘defensive liability’.

Liverpool managed to scrape third place last season as they were flooded with injury issues, which saw them start two academy graduates in defence for the second half of the campaign. They still finished admirably in the league, but it was a very strange time for Liverpool who were wounded for large parts of the season.

During one of the most difficult periods of the season, Carragher couldn’t help but complain as Liverpool unravelled against Leicester, being cut open by Brendan Rodgers’ side. And the former Liverpool star targeted both Thiago and Alisson in a rant on Twitter.

Carragher wrote in February 2021: “Liverpool outstanding up until 1-1. Thiago a liability defensively! The Keeper’s decision making has gone awol in the last 2 games!” But it just goes to show what can change in a year, as Thiago cannot stop being awarded the man of the match award 14 months on.

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In a team filled with stars playing at their peak, Thiago has perhaps been one of the more impressive players this season, and his influence in the middle of the park has caught the eye. And although Carragher’s defensive worries may be true for Thiago, he is not tasked with doing the dirty work.

That’s left to Fabinho, who is Liverpool’s enforcer in the middle, and now Thiago is being given freedom to roam the pitch, and is wowing spectators with his array of passing and also the ease at which he glides past players. The Spaniard was fantastic as Liverpool beat Manchester United 4-0 on Tuesday, and Carragher said it was his best game at Anfield.

“I’m watching Thiago, it’s like he’s playing in the back yard with kids,” said Carragher. “There were a few signs towards the end of the first half that he was getting casual. It was that easy for him, just dribbling past players.”

“I think there’s no doubt that’s his best game he’s ever had at Anfield, I’m sure of it,” he added. And commentary partner Gary Neville praised Thiago as he admitted that the midfielder “took the p***” against United.

“Thiago was laughing when he came off,” Neville said. “He was laughing at Manchester United all game. I don’t normally swear on the podcast but he took the p*** out of Manchester United tonight.”

And Klopp even came out to defend Thiago who had been under some criticism until this season, and the Liverpool boss laughed at those who doubted him. “People were questioning if he suits our football?” he laughed.

“Thank god these people don’t make decisions. Really. Thiago wanted to join us, and he knew how we played. He’s a real football person, he thinks a lot about football, and he knows how we play. He knew he would fit in and we knew as well.

“In this case, it’s all about being fit, staying fit and getting used to the slight differences to the former club, and then you can go from there. Thiago‘s only problem was he was injured. But there was never a question about if he would suit. We only signed him because we knew he would help us.”

And help Liverpool he has, and he looks perfect for Klopp’s system. Defensively he may not be cut out, but he is a joy to watch going forward, and any further success this season will hinge on his influence.

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