Football Expert & Columnist
Jamie Carragher says Romelu Lukaku can fire Everton into top four
Jamie Carragher says Romelu Lukaku might have the quality to steer Everton into the Champions League.
Last Updated: 01/10/13 1:30pm
That's the view of Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher after he watched the on-loan Chelsea striker score two and make the other in Everton's 3-2 victory over Newcastle on Monday Night Football.
The result takes Everton to fourth place in the Premier League and they remain the only undefeated side in the top flight after finishing sixth in David Moyes' final season in charge.
And Carragher says that Lukaku, who scored the winner on his debut against West Ham last weekend, might be the missing link in Roberto Martinez's quest for a top-four finish this term.
He told Monday Night Football: "He's the type of player you look at as defenders and you think 'that's probably why I retired'. You don't really want to be coming up against players like that.
"He has the goals, the power and the strength, but did you see the pass for the second goal for Barkley and the weight of that pass? He's got so much about him.
"If you think about the Everton sides under David Moyes they were solid defensively and had good compact midfields but they always lacked a standout striker.
"They had Tim Cahill, who'd play off the front and would get goals, but you look at this lad in his first game-and-a-half in the Premier League for Everton and he's got three goals and one assist. Have they ever had a striker of that quality?
"David Moyes got them to the Champions League once and they got knocked out in the qualifying round and Roberto Martinez says Bill Kenwright put him under a little bit of pressure in his first interview by mentioning the Champions League.
"But they are there now and with this striker that they haven't had before then who knows?"
Everton's second goal was scored by the influential Ross Barkley with Carragher suggesting his combination with Lukaku played a key part in their success.
And he compared their display to the memorable football relationship that Fernando Torres formed with Steven Gerrard at Liverpool between 2007 and 2011.
Carragher added: "I was looking at it from a Liverpool point of view. Remember that partnership of Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard a few years ago?
"Barkley's not a striker who likes to drop deep like a Bergkamp or a Zola, he's more of a midfielder who likes to go forward similar to how Steven Gerrard was in that position under Rafa Benitez. Then you'd have Torres up front with the pace and power when he first came.
"Look, it's one game. Lukaku has only come on at half-time last week at West Ham, but that's what I was looking at today.
"I'm not saying Barkley's totally similar to Steven Gerrard; I think he's got a bit of the 'Gascoignes' about him in terms of running at people in central areas. Normally you see wide players running at people and you don't normally see that.
"It just took me back all those years when I'd see Torres up the front and Gerrard just behind feeding him. That's something similar and there was a lot of good link-up play from them tonight."