Robbie Fowler has backed up Jamie Carragher’s claim that Manchester United have nothing to moan about as regards injuries to centre-backs compared to Liverpool.
The effect of Harry Maguire’s absence at the back was clear in United’s loss to the Reds last Thursday. Luke Shaw and Dean Henderson made obvious errors while the defender missed his first Premier League game since signing in 2019. As such, Gary Neville highlighted his importance – and the impact of his withdrawal – on commentary for Sky Sports.
Jamie Carragher then waded in with his view on the situation. He insisted that the Red Devils’ problems amount to nothing compared to what Liverpool have gone through this season.
The Reds have lost all three senior centre-halves to long-term injuries. Indeed, Joel Matip was the last one to play back in January. Meanwhile, back-up option Fabinho has had his own problems.
Now, Carragher’s fellow former Liverpool star Fowler has thrown his support behind Carragher’s argument. He also said that, given Liverpool’s struggles, making the top four would be a huge success.
“I’d question that – say more frustrating, than disappointing. Yeah, that sounds a bit crazy for a team who were World Champions a year ago and are now struggling for fourth, but you always need context in football.
“And the context of what’s happened to them says this has been a hard season to take, definitely one to forget and one where confidence has been hit and form with it, but also where they’ve still shown mettle.
“Believe me, without all three of your senior centre halves all season, and with even the inexperienced stand-ins constantly injured too, you need some mental strength to still have reaching the top four in their own hands.
“Honestly, if you’d have said to them they’d be going into the final week of the season with it all to still play for, they’d have snatched your hand off. I’d probably have laughed you out of the place.”
Fowler’s comments come after he announced a partnership with Carragher to develop Liverpool’s old Melwood training complex into their own academy.
Fowler aims dig at Neville
He added: “That context again – lots of teams have had injuries, yes. But no other teams had them to the extent Liverpool did, and not concentrated in such a key area.
“Carra was saying, when we did our launch at Melwood, that people were going out of their way to excuse Manchester United the other night, because they had one defender in Harry Maguire injured.
“Imagine where they’d be if they had all of their centre halves injured for all of the season! (yeah, imagine that Gary Neville!).”
United are still sweating on Maguire’s fitness ahead of next Wednesday’s Europa League final.
However, Anthony Martial and Daniel James could be in contention as they near a return from injury.