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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Jamie Braidwood

Jamie Carragher identifies two key players for Liverpool to become title challengers

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Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at Luton showed his former club are still two signings away from challenging for the Premier League title this season.

Luis Diaz’s late equaliser rescued a point for Liverpool at the newly promoted side, after Jurgen Klopp’s team fell behind to second-half goal from substitute Tahith Chong.

Reds forward Darwin Nunez was guilty of missing a golden chance when the game was goalless and Carragher said the striker needs to be more “clinical”.

But Carragher also said Liverpool are still short of a “holding midfielder” and “top class defender” if they are to challenge Manchester City for the title this season.

The Reds sold Fabinho and Jordan Henderson as part of their midfield rebuild this summer and although new signing Dominic Szoboszlai has been an upgrade, Alexis Mac Allister has been required to fill in at holding midfield.

When assessing why Liverpool are still short of winning the league, Carragher said on Sky Sports: “Liverpool still aren’t as good as Man City at stopping counter-attacks. Liverpool are a team who dominate possession, they have a lot of the ball, but they’re not quite as good as Man City off the ball so there are more turnovers and they lose the ball.

"Opponents do seem to find spaces a lot more to and attack and get in behind Liverpool. Luton didn’t have the quality to really punish them, except for the goal we saw.

"Liverpool in midfield are improved from what we saw last season, but they still haven’t got a top holding midfielder.

"(Alexis) MacAllister isn’t a top holding midfielder. He’s good on the ball in terms of receiving, but defensively, he finds it really tough and he lacks a bit of pace for that position.

"In the back four, Liverpool could do with not so much a player for a specific position, but just a great defender who can almost play in a couple of positions.

"They went with (Joe) Gomez [on Sunday] at left-back because they thought he would be stronger defensively. I think Liverpool could do with a player in that position on the other side at right-back and maybe release Trent (Alexander-Arnold) into midfield.

"Liverpool are not ready to win the league. Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool supporters know that right now.

"They want to get back into the top four. In terms of challenging again, I think they need a holding midfielder and a top-class defender."

Liverpool sit three points behind Pep Guardiola’s side in the table, ahead of their visit to the champions on 25 November.

Diaz’s equaliser ensured Liverpool’s only defeat this season remains their controversial 2-1 loss to Tottenham after the Reds were reduced to nine men.

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