With Liverpool reportedly interested in Blackburn Rovers ’ centre back Phil Jones , I thought it maybe a good idea to look hypothetically at which centre back partnership would be best for the Reds if the 19 year old did in fact arrive this summer:
Carragher & Skrtel – This partnership has been solid for the most part since King Kenny arrived as manager. While Jamie had his injury problems last season, Skrtel has played every minute of every Premier League match, with his form improving as the campaign went on. A concern for me with the pairing is that they encourage the backline to play too deep when they play because of their lack of pace, and they also lack the ability to pass out from the back; a quality essential to Dalglish’s pass and move philosophy.
Carragher & Agger – A cornerstone of Liverpool’s Champions League final run in 2007, the pairing has had limited game time together in recent seasons due to injuries to both players. While the Dane is the most gifted player on the ball, allowing an additional midfield option when bringing the ball forward, Carra compliments his footballing centre half partner, with his organisation and communication and no-nonsense defending. With the number of injuries to Agger and the fact that Carragher is now 33, it means this partnership could not be seen to be a long term solution for Liverpool’s centre back issues.
Agger & Skrtel – This pairing is definitely one of my favourites for a variety of reasons. For starters, Skrtel really needs somebody alongside him, such as Agger or Carragher, who can be decisive and authoritative. I think it is fair to say that the Slovakian is not the best organiser at the back and he kind of needs somebody alongside him who can communicate well, and ensure he is in the right place at the right time. Skrtel’s aerial ability combined with Agger’s passing range means the pairing compliment each other very well.
Agger & Jones – So how would this pairing fair? Very well in my opinion for both have decent pace but most importantly both can pass the ball out from the back. No doubt Kenny has been looking at Jones primarily because of his capabilities with the ball at feet. The 19 year old can play in central midfield too, and has played very well when asked to play there, and added on to the fact he has very good aerial ability, like the Skrtel/Agger partnership, they should work well together.
Jones & Skrtel – Another partnership I don’t see many problems with other than the fact they maybe a lack of leadership or organisation if they played together. As I have said already, I believe Skrtel always needs a guiding hand when playing in defence and I am unsure that at 19 years of age whether Jones will be authoritative enough yet to organise the backline.
Jones & Carragher – This pairing probably would have the greatest potential for next season if Agger is unfit. Jones will learn a hell of a lot playing alongside Carra in the centre of defence, and it would be great for our vice captain to be able to give the next generation any pearls of wisdom he can provide. In addition, Jones has the ability to pass the ball out from the defence, complimenting Carra’s no-nonsense style.
For me, each pairing has its merits if we did purchase Phil Jones . Which would you go for?