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This is an area of need.
Jamie Carragher is a wonderful player and servant to the club, but he is getting old and doesn't have much time left at the highest level. He was never quick but is getting even slower now. While his positioning, intelligence, marshalling of the defence and commitment to the cause are all beyond reproach, it is a fact that he has never been a particularly skillful player, and he too often resorts to "agricultural" clearances rather than playing the ball out of defence.
Carra epitomizes everything good about the Liverpool mentality, but his growing years and the concordant devolution in his physical prowess are beginning to expose more and more of his basic weaknesses. I know it is a particularly difficult pill to swallow for Liverpool fans to criticize or question Carra, but it is time we started grooming his replacement.
Martin Skrtel is a fine defender when given a run in the team, but he has weaknesses, and much like Michael Dawson at Tottenham, he needs a more experienced and intelligent player beside him. Skrtel is great in the air but is prone to giving away silly free kicks, lacks pedigree on the ball, and oddly enough for a lad his size, is often given a hard time by big physical strikers like, for example, Didier Drogba. Having said all that, there is certainly the makings of a good player in him.
Soto Kygriakos deserves immense credit for his improvements this season. He has shown himself to be a very good no-nonsense center back who is great in the air and organizes the defense very well. Having said that, Soto has a glaring weakness—he is far too slow. While Sami Hyypia was able to compensate for his reducing pace through his positional sense, Sami was one in a million, and Soto just isn't of the same quality. He has proven this season he is a good player when asked to deal with physical strikers, but against someone with even average pace who plays off his shoulder, Soto is a pure liability.
Daniel Agger is an excellent footballer who is great against any and all types of striker, is composed and gifted on the ball, reads the play well and has excellent recovery pace. But he is also injured consistently, and it does take him a while to play himself into form. If he could get fit and stay fit, he would be spoken of in the same terms as Vidic and Luiz, but at the moment, his injury record makes him too unreliable to depend on.
Danny Wilson looked like a good player when he was signed, but he has had no time at all in the team, and this worries me. With Liverpool's injury strife this year, I would have expected to see more of Wilson, and his lack of football would raise doubts as to whether he is inspiring confidence behind the scenes. He is maybe going to get a chance coming toward the end of the season, and hopefully, he shows us something special, but at the moment, the jury is out.
Martin Kelly is, I think, a center back at heart, and I will therefore discuss him in this section. Basically...he's very good, He is quick, tough, a good defender, clever, strong and good on the ball. And he is Liverpool through and through. He could be the longterm replacement to Carragher.
In conclusion, and not to stretch a point, while we are fairly OK at the position depth wise, we have a worrying lack of pace at center back. We also have a problem in that Carra's time is running out, Agger is perennially hurt and Skrtel is a bit of an idiot. We need a new, classy and reliable center back to carry us into the future.