History suggests Liverpool will fail to retain the Premier League title without the injured Virgil van Dijk and Jurgen Klopp should spend big to sign Dayot Upamecano in January, believes Jamie Carragher.
The defensive colossus suffered a devastating knee injury which will see him miss much of the 2020-21 campaign after being caught on the receiving end of a nasty challenge from Jordan Pickford against Everton in a big blow for the Champions.
And former player and now-pundit Carragher believes title races of the past – including last year's when Manchester City lost Aymeric Laporte – suggest losing such an influential figure can be detrimental to a title defence.
When asked on Sky Sports Monday Night Football if the Reds will retain the title, Carragher said: 'History says no.'
'What I mean by that is when I went back to the mid 80s, I went through champions who tried to retain titles, I went back to huge figures like Virgil van Dijk.
'Everton in 1986 lost Southall to injury, Liverpool won. Liverpool 1988 - Hansen who was the Virgil van Dijk of that time got injured in pre-season, Arsenal won league. Cantona missed half a season with his incident, Blackburn win the title. RK does cruciate at Leeds, Arsenal win title. 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. The loss of van Dijk speaks for itself.
'We are talking about the best player and the most valuable player in the PL. The reason van Dijk was most valuable, I would say De Bruyne but he does get injured, but van Dijk was because he never missed a game.
'Liverpool's next big signing next summer had to be a centre-back anyway. That has got to be brought forward to January 1, not the end of January.
'There is one called Upamecano, he is not the profile of van Dijk, but if that's who they wanted, pay the extra money and bring him in.'
After not even receiving a yellow card for the horrific challenge on the Dutchman, it was revealed earlier today that Pickford would also face no retrospective action.