Even Jurgen Klopp found it difficult to settle on a reliable backline during his early tenure as Liverpool manager.
Having made over 700 appearances for Liverpool, club legend Jamie Carragher unsurprisingly proved a difficult man to replace in the heart of defence after his retirement in 2013.
We’ve ranked the 12 central defenders Liverpool have signed since Carra left, from worst to best. Permanent deals only, with apologies to Ozan Kabak.
12. Ben Davies
An emergency mid-season pick-up from Preston North End amid Liverpool’s great injury crisis of 2020-21.
As bad as things got for Liverpool – six straight league defeats at Anfield, anyone? – Davies never actually made it onto the pitch and was only named on the bench on a handful of occasions.
Apparently he’s currently at Rangers but we’ll have to take their word for it because we’re still not sure he actually exists.
11. Tiago Ilori
Given two-thirds of his appearances for Liverpool were against Exeter in the 2015-16 FA Cup, Ilori’s spell at Liverpool was less memorable than the music output of The Saturdays.
In fairness, he forged a decent career at Reading before moving to Sporting Lisbon in 2019, where he was reunited with another legendary former Liverpool defender in Sebastian Coates.
10. Steven Caulker
A defender signed as an emergency striker… we cannot help rating this so much. Who cares that he didn’t score?
READ: Ranking Liverpool’s 27 weirdest signings of the Premier League era
9. Sepp van den Berg
Another youngster who has failed to make a league appearance to date, Van den Berg appeared in that FA Cup game against Shrewsbury alongside every other teenager in the Merseyside area.
Still only 20, there remains every chance that the Dutchman can rise up this list in future years. He’s made over 50 Championship appearances in loans at Preston, which could well prove valuable experience, and is currently getting top-flight experience at Schalke.
Even if the defender doesn’t make the grade back at Anfield, you’d imagine they’ll make a profit on the small fee of £1.3million they originally signed him for.
8. Mamadou Sakho
From a distance, Sakho’s time at Anfield reads like a Basil Fawlty-esque catalogue of disasters: from leaving the stadium after being dropped for a Merseyside derby, being falsely accused of violating UEFA anti-doping rules to Klopp banishing him from the 2016 pre-season tour of America for consistent lateness.
However, this was…
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