Carra: Luiz as good as Alderweireld, Vertonghen

Matt Stead

Jamie Carragher believes David Luiz is as good as any central defender in the Premier League.

Luiz re-joined Chelsea on transfer deadline day last summer in a deal that was derided by many a critic.

The Brazilian was signed for £32million, but was perceived to be an error-strewn defender who would not fit into Antonio Conte’s system.

However, he has been crucial to Chelsea’s success so far this season, excelling in a three-man defence and helping the Blues to a nine-point lead at the top of the table by February.

Carragher, writing in his Daily Mail column, has stated that the 29-year-old is one of the best central defenders in the top flight, alongside Tottenham pair Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen.

‘I was critical of Luiz in the past for being too hot-headed and emotional — recall how he cried during the national anthems at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil — but Conte so far has stripped that from him,’ the Liverpool legend wrote.

‘Last season I regarded Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen as the best central defenders in the Premier League but such has been Chelsea’s defensive improvement — both teams have conceded only 16 goals — you have to put Luiz right up there.

‘He has helped keep 12 clean sheets so far but his best figure is the zero in the column reserved for errors that have led to goals. That is where defenders will always be judged and, so far, Luiz has been almost faultless, with Opta’s stats showing just one error in 19 appearances that led to a shot.

‘Faultless is not a word I ever expected to use about him.’