Manchester United were comfortably beaten by Liverpool on Thursday night as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side suffered with Harry Maguire’s absence.
The centre-back watched the game from the stands with a medical boot on his foot after suffering an injury on Sunday.
Maguire was taken off against Aston Villa, and seems doubtful to return in time for next week’s game against Fulham.
Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof played at centre-back in his absence, and United were sloppy defensively as Liverpool tore through them.
And speaking afterwards, Neville compared Maguire to club icon Roy Keane, explaining that he is too important to be dropped.
He explained to Sky Sports that when he played alongside Keane, the team would always play worse when the midfielder was out of the side.
And Neville believes that Maguire is having that same impact on the current team.
“I played with players at Manchester United, individual players, Roy Keane was one of them in the studio, that when they don’t play it unnerves a whole team,” he said.
“The lack of presence of Harry Maguire in that defence is just obvious for all to see.
“People will question, ‘how good really is Harry Maguire?’ But you only really see it when he’s not playing.
“What we’re seeing tonight is a very frantic defence.”
Speaking after the game, Solskjaer insisted that while he misses Maguire, he has faith in the rest of his defenders to fill in.
“Everyone would miss their captain and leader. Harry has been amazing since he came to this club.
“We will miss a player of that quality but we have players that are ready to step in.”