Football

Juergen Klopp hits back at Jamie Carragher's criticism

Reds boss irked by ex-defender's comments on a lack of back-up for centre-backs

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has hit back at former Reds defender Jamie Carragher for what he perceived to be a slight on his transfer policy regarding central defenders.

Speaking ahead of this morning's (Singapore time) Champions League clash at Ajax Amsterdam, Klopp was in a combative mood when asked about Virgil van Dijk - who suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury last Saturday.

He said: "We went into the season with three centre-backs plus Fabinho as cover and some youngsters.

"It's hard to have four world-class centre halves.

"If anyone wants to tell us we made a mistake - I think Carragher mentioned already - there are a few reasons why they don't do this job...

"Why should I think the boys cannot deal with the situation?

"Obviously, you all think we'll struggle, we have to prove you wrong when I'm not interested in that.

"I am only interested in the best for LFC. We try that now. Next few weeks will calm you all down."

Carragher responded on Twitter, writing: "Not once this season have I said it was a mistake for Klopp not to buy a centre-back for the exact reason he states."

In the aftermath of van Dijk's injury, Carragher had said on Sky Sports: "Dejan Lovren went and they didn't replace him so they only have three centre-backs and one of those, Joel Matip, is always injured.

"There are question marks now about Joe Gomez. So there is no doubt that Liverpool had to go big in the transfer market."

On whether Liverpool could retain their title without the Dutchman, Carragher said: "History says no...

"Everton in 1986 lost (Neville) Southall to injury, Liverpool won.

"In 1988 - Alan Hansen, who was the Virgil van Dijk of that time, got injured in pre-season, Arsenal won league.

"(Eric) Cantona missed half a season with his incident, Blackburn win the title.

"(Aymeric) Laporte misses part of season. Man City lose the league.

"I think if van Dijk is fit for the whole season, Liverpool win the league. Now, without him, it massively opens it up."

This is not the first time Klopp has been annoyed by the comments of a pundit this season.

He sniped back at former Manchester United captain Roy Keane for calling his side's defending "sloppy" during a 3-1 win over Arsenal last month.

Said Klopp: "Did I hear it right, that Mr Keane said it was a sloppy performance tonight?"

After Keane attempted to explain his remarks, Klopp said: "That is an incredible description of this game, that was absolutely exceptional. Nothing was sloppy, absolutely nothing."

"It's hard to have four world-class centre halves. If anyone wants to tell us we made a mistake - I think Carragher mentioned already - there are a few reasons why they don't do this job."

- Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp on Jamie Carragher

Football