That led to the Anfield side adding Preston’s Davies and Schalke’s Kabak to their squad on transfer deadline line.
Despite bringing in those defensive reinforcements, manager Jurgen Klopp opted to select midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho as his central defensive pairing for the visit of City.
That decision failed to pay off, with the Reds suffering a 4-1 thrashing at the hands of Pep Guardiola’s league leaders.
The heavy defeat means they are now 10 points adrift of City in the table, with Guardiola’s side enjoying a five-point cushion between them and second-place Manchester United.
And Carragher has identified the time it takes for Davies and Kabak to settle as being crucial to Liverpool rescuing their season.
“If Kabak, Davies or both immediately show they have the required quality – and the short-term injuries return higher up the pitch – Liverpool can still get closer to City,” Carragher wrote in a column for the Telegraph before Sunday’s game.
“I hope Klopp gives Kabak his debut, thus allowing Jordan Henderson to return to midfield and giving Liverpool a more familiar look in several positions.
“Klopp may be reluctant to throw in a new player against such a quality side. It feels low risk given where Liverpool are.
“It’s a big ask for Kabak and Davies, but it is sink or swim at this level.”
Carragher pointed to the influence of Ruben Dias at City as a path for the Reds’ new defenders to follow.
“When City signed Dias last September, I said Guardiola’s City future would be determined by how quickly the Portuguese defender settled,” he added.
“City failed to replace Vincent Kompany in the summer of 2019, an error which was instrumental in them finishing 18 points behind Liverpool last season.
“In having to fix that, Dias arrived under more pressure than recent Guardiola signings. The world watching to see if he would solve City’s problems. He has.
“To save this year’s ambitions, Liverpool need their new recruits to do the same. Otherwise it will be left to Van Dijk again at the start of next season.