Fabinho has an idea to fix Liverpool’s form after back-to-back draws tightened the title race.
Liverpool had a perfect record against sides outside the top six before hosting Leicester City last week. That record ended, however, after the Reds failed to reply to Harry Maguire’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw.
They followed that up with an almost identical result away at West Ham United – right down to both equalisers coming from set-pieces.
Liverpool’s inability to find a winner in each game has worried some and Fabinho admits there has been a dip in form.
He does, however, have a theory as to why it’s happened.
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Fabinho’s theory for Liverpool’s form
“We have confidence,” he told ESPN. “We enjoyed a brilliant December, which was almost perfect, but now we have had this dip.
“It is difficult to explain why this has happened. I believe that now teams who play against us sit very deep. We need to do things a little differently and maybe we aren’t doing this — we are unable to find the spaces.
“Often, we want to go through the middle and it is difficult against physically strong and defensive teams. We need to find solutions and in these past few games we haven’t.”
Fabinho is certainly right about Liverpool’s tendency to attack centrally and the impact on their form. The switch from 4-3-3 to 4-2-3-1 means the natural focal point of the attack – Mohamed Salah – is now playing in the middle.
It’s only half the story, though. Conceding sloppy equalisers has only highlighted the issue of the attack, forcing Liverpool to push against deep, confident defences when ill-equipped to.
The 1-0 win against Brighton was evidence of what can happen if Liverpool stay tight. No sloppy goal was conceded and Liverpool were able to see out a win.
Liverpool got early goals against Wolves, Bournemouth, and Newcastle, too. They then kept tight at the back, and were able to control the game. That led to further goals on every occasion as teams pushed out to look for more.
Fabinho correctly points out a problem in Liverpool’s recent games and it’s clearly affected their form. It isn’t anything brand new, however.
Teams have always defended this way when the opportunity arose – Liverpool have simply been great at not giving it to them.
It’s certainly a blip, as Fabinho says, but Liverpool can overcome it.