Following the injury to vice-captain Jamie Carragher in Sunday’s defeat at Tottenham, manager Roy Hodgson told how, in his opinion, “we’re not overly blessed with centre-halves”.
Such a statement ranks alongside other failures to know his own squad. In the summer we were “overstaffed”, more recently we had a small squad. A few weeks ago we badly needed new players, now he admits he underestimated his squad and doesn’t need to sign anybody. Yet now we are not blessed with centre-halves, apparently. And we don’t have enough strikers.
Hodgson said “We’ll miss his (Carragher) leadership skills and we’ve got Agger still injured and we’re not overly blessed with centre-halves.”
Aside from whether the statement is true – it’s not – it again shows huge disrespect to those will now be asked to step in and replace Carragher in his absence. Roy’s continual pessimism and undermining of his own players is not the attitude accustomed to previous occupants of the Liverpool manager’s position.
As for the actual content of the statement, let’s take a look. We can include Carragher in the list of centre-halves, of whom we are supposedly not blessed, so that’s a Champions League winning defender with 450 Premier League appearances to his name. Next we have Slovakian captain Martin Skrtel. Then there’s one of the most cultured centre halves in the league in Daniel Agger, albeit sidelined now but the statement Roy made was that we aren’t blessed with centre-halves.
Then there’s the very much in-form Soto Kyrgiakos, whom Roy has praised heavily this season. So four experienced and reliable centre halves so far. Usually four is enough for most top clubs but ill come to that later.
Then there’s the youngsters for cover; England under 21 Martin Kelly, recently capped by Scotland Danny Wilson, and even the promising Daniel Ayala who is on loan to Hull at the moment. So seven in total.
So let’s compare that with the other traditional ‘big four’ clubs, using players whose ‘natural’ position is centre back, and who have made appearances for their club this season.
[table id=45 /]
The Mancs aside, it’s fair to say Liverpool have the best available number of centre halves comparably to Arsenal and Chelsea – who, of course, have had to resort to playing full backs at centre back recently.
Hodgson’s excuse mentality and lowering of expectations has gone on long enough. John Henry and NESV must put an end to this before we before a mid-table club due to our manager’s mid-table expectations.