Liverpool have “very little chance” of winning the Premier League title after their 1-1 draw with Chelsea, says Jamie Carragher.
The draw means Liverpool are 10 points behind the Blues with 15 games of the season remaining, with Antonio Conte’s side nine points ahead of nearest challengers Tottenham and Arsenal.
It could have been worse for the Reds, had Diego Costa not missed a second-half penalty at Anfield, and despite both sides not having European football to contend with in the spring months, Carragher says Liverpool’s attention will now rightly turn to the crowded race for the top four.
Reflecting on Liverpool’s winless Premier League run in January, Carragher told Sky Sports News HQ: “It hasn’t been a good January, and it leaves it with very little chance really. I think possibly they had to beat Chelsea to give them, and the rest of the league, an outside chance.
“But I think for Liverpool on Tuesday night it wasn’t just the fact they didn’t lose the game, there’s a feel-good factor this morning because of a better performance, they came back after struggling, and I think most people will see it as a good performance and a good lift, more for the top four than for the title.
“The title is maybe a distant dream if you like. You hope Arsenal can beat Chelsea at the weekend, and maybe we could talk about it a little bit more then, but I think at this moment the rest of the sides are more worried about the top four and being left out of the top four than the title.”
David Luiz caught goalkeeper Simon Mignolet napping at a free-kick for Chelsea’s opening goal, before Gini Wijnaldum levelled things up and Mingolet redeemed himself by saving Costa’s spot-kick.
The goalkeeper position has been a contentious issue at Anfield this season, with Loris Karius starting the season as No 1 before being ousted for Mignolet, and though Carragher insists the Belgian has done well this season, the Sky Sports pundit concedes his former club can improve in that position.
“The goalkeeper should be looking at the ball, of course he should, but it’s brilliant from David Luiz, the execution, and the fact that he caught Mignolet unaware.
“He’s not ready, you should always be looking at the ball. That’s something you are taught as a kid, you should always keep your eye on the ball no matter what position you are playing, whether the ball is out of play, wherever it may be.
“He’s been caught out. Would he have saved it? I possibly doubt he would have done, it doesn’t look good, but he redeemed himself!
“I think Mignolet has done quite well this season, I think he was unfairly left out for Karius this season. It’s just whether the manager then goes again and buys a goalkeeper, it’s very rare you see a manager buy two goalkeepers in two seasons.
“It’s a big position to fill, and at times as a manager you’ve got to give the goalkeeper confidence because it’s probably the toughest position to play on the pitch.
“I do think it’s an area Liverpool can improve, it’s nothing new me saying that, but the main man is Jurgen Klopp to decide that.”
Liverpool brought in no players during the January transfer window, but Carragher insists not much has changed around the Reds in the top six squad-wise, following a quiet window for top clubs.
Carragher, however, accepts that Chelsea still have the stronger of the two squads as we approach the business end of the season.
“Squad-wise, Liverpool and Chelsea are the two sides who are not in Europe. Do Chelsea have the strongest squad? They bring on Fabregas last night, they have a £30m striker in Michy Batshuayi who never plays, John Terry, so they have got a very strong squad. That’s the difference certainly to Liverpool.
“The top sides never usually buy in January, I think it’s a panic window, and the teams who panic are usually the teams at the bottom because they are so desperate to stay in the league, and will pay sums for plays you can’t believe, and perhaps they can’t believe as well.
“They think it’s a risk worth taking because they know what they could gain next season from staying up. I don’t think much at the top has changed squad-wise in January, and there’s been very little business.”