Jamie Carragher has blasted Liverpool's decision to not sign a centre-back in the summer and believes it could yet cost them a place in the top-four.
The Liverpool legend was an outspoken critic of Jurgen Klopp's decision not to sign a central defender after releasing Dejan Lovren at the end of last season.
That frustration only grew, when injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez left the champions threadbare at the back.
And after coping admirably during the opening months of the season, the Reds have now gone five without a win and find themselves six points off league leaders Manchester United.
Klopp was forced to start midfielders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson against United, a situation Carragher described as 'preposterous'.
“I said then I did not think Liverpool could win the league unless they had a new centre-back in place on January 1,” he told The Telegraph.
“They needed one before Joe Gomez was injured. His and Joel Matip's appearance record was informative of that.
“Frankly, it is preposterous that three months on and with the transfer window now open, Klopp felt compelled to use Jordan Henderson in the position against Manchester United.
“And although Fabinho has been outstanding, he would be more influential in midfield. It has caused a chain reaction throughout the team.
“Maybe the club thought Klopp is so good he can overcome any situation. If so, the last few weeks are a reality check for them.”
In the midst of their worst run under Klopp, Liverpool now face a daunting fixture schedule, including games against Tottenham, Man City and Leicester City.
“Liverpool’s fixture schedule shows the situation may deteriorate before it improves,” Carragher added.
“We will know by the end of February if Liverpool are still fighting for the title or to stay in the top four. Klopp may be prepared to accept all the burden, but when the tools he needs are unavailable – or worse still are not provided when needed – it is his to share.”
Klopp has hinted that he has held discussions about signing a defender during the January window, only to be told he “cannot spend the money”.
John Terry's brilliant response to Liverpool losing their unbeaten home run
“I am not a five-year-old kid any more and if I don’t get what I want I start crying.
“Most of the time in my life I didn’t get what I wanted, so pretty much used to that. We talk about a centre-half, and yes, it would help 100 percent.
“We discuss the situation pretty much on a daily basis, and I make recommendations.
“But I cannot spend the money. I don’t make these decisions. There are people who are responsible for the whole thing, and I cannot make their decisions.”
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