Why Jamie Carragher would have helped Liverpool win the league this year

The Reds' former Anfield great would have provided a calming and experienced option at the back compared to this year's defenders, and the stats prove it.

Much has been made of Liverpool's outstanding attacking force this season, and rightly so, given how they've blitzed 95% of opposition out of the water, scoring a gigantic 99 league goals this season.

But it isn't the only change in goal difference from last year, and it looks like those goals scored have come at somewhat of a price.

Liverpool have already conceded six goals more than they did in the whole of last season, all the more surprising considering they finished 2012-13 way down in 7th place.

Now most Liverpool fans you talk to would be more than happy to put up with 28 more goals scored to make up for that defence that conceded 49 goals, and rightly so, but when you consider how costly the last six goals conceded have been for the club's title credentials, the differences between this and last season become a little more intriguing.

It doesn't take an analytical expert to see that Liverpool have been lacking authority, experience and guidance from the centre of their defence at times this year, and yet last year they possessed a club legend that offered all those things, and who was also debating whether he should retire or not.

In the end, Jamie Carragher hung up his boots after the last game of the season, and has been watching from the Sky Sports studio as his old club have entertained the whole division this year.

For Carragher and Liverpool, it may be a case of what might have been. The former Reds vice-captain joked a few months ago that if he would have known he'd have been in with a shot at the title he would have maybe played one more season at Anfield, and he wouldn't have been the only benefactor of such a decision, with Liverpool almost certainly being a stronger defensive unit if they had the Bootle native in their midst. Can you imagine the Reds conceding 3 goals in 9 minutes against Palace with Carragher on the pitch? Of course not.

Liverpool central defender stats 2012-13

  TeamPosmins / Goals ConcededError Lead To GoalError Lead To ShotChallenge LostAppsMins
Jamie Carragher Liverpool DF 89.88 0 0 9 24 1,528
Daniel Agger Liverpool DF 83.78 0 1 12 35 3,100
Sebastián Coates Liverpool DF 77.67 0 1 2 5 233
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 67.06 2 3 2 25 2,079

Liverpool central defender stats 2013-14

  TeamPosmins / Goals ConcededError Lead To GoalError Lead To ShotChallenge LostAppsMins
Daniel Agger Liverpool DF 88.67 0 3 5 19 1,330
Kolo Touré Liverpool DF 71.95 2 1 7 20 1,439
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 63.92 2 2 15 35 3,132
Mamadou Sakho Liverpool DF 59.20 0 2 5 18 1,480

The tables above show that Carragher was the one central defender last year that conceded no shots or goals as a result of his play. Additionally to that, he had the best goals to minutes ratio of any central defender.

Compare those stats to this year, you can see that Daniel Agger, who was second to Carragher last year but remains so unfancied by Rodgers, is now the strongest defender in terms of keeping out goals. Kolo Toure was signed as the experienced man to come in and replace Carragher in that role as elder defensive statesman, but he has woefully failed to do that, creating more uncertainty when he has played if anything.

Having a Jamie Carragher in the team, if only for half of the season, and even if he would have struggled at times, would likely have improved the Reds defence considerably, and who knows, may have even helped secure that coveted League trophy.

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