Liverpool currently have the best defensive midfielder in the world in their squad. Fabinho has become unstoppable at the base of the Reds midfield since cementing his place in the side. He has shown an unrivaled ability to read the game in front of him – stopping attacks and distributing the ball effectively game in, game out. Despite his fine form, evidence shows that Jürgen Klopp doesn’t trust Fabinho.
Liverpool have been impotent in midfield this season. The Reds approach play has lacked inventiveness and Klopp has had to rely on the brilliance of his front three in order to maintain the team’s lead at the top of the table. The low point for the creativity in the middle was Liverpool’s away trip to Napoli. Klopp’s side looked utterly clueless when in possession and failed to do much at all with their possession in Italy. That night, Liverpool started with Fabinho alongside James Milner and Jordan Henderson. It was an horrendously negative lineup and failed to pay any dividends.
With Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain now both fit and in contention, Klopp needs to show that he trusts Fabinho. He is the best defensive midfielder in the world, he doesn’t need other defensively minded midfield players around him. To play Fabinho and Henderson in the same side only serves to restrict Liverpool’s attacking ability. In games where the Reds are expected to dominate possession, such as against Genk, Klopp should trust Fabinho by playing Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain alongside him.
Eventually, something has to change. If Klopp is serious about his title challenge, he needs to be showing more faith in Fabinho by playing more attacking players around him.