Does Fabinho get back into the first-team when he returns? He’s been out of the Liverpool side over the last month thanks to an injury. 

There’s little doubt that Fabinho is an elite player. We labelled him Liverpool’s breakout player of 2019 as he shook off any remaining doubts following his £39m move to become arguably the world’s best defensive midfielder.

Roberto Firmino and Fabinho after the latters injury

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

And yet, Liverpool are better defensively with Jordan Henderson in the role. It’s not exactly apparent why that is, either, as no one would argue that Henderson is better defensively.

The statistics back it up, though. Fabinho played the holding role 18 times before his injury and the Reds kept two clean sheets.

Since Henderson took over the role, Liverpool have kept seven in nine. That’s quite a dramatic improvement and one that complicates things for Jurgen Klopp.

Subscribe to Rousing The Kop TV now

Henderson has been brilliant in the role and has made it his own. Liverpool have also improved defensively and looked great over the Christmas period.

But then, Fabinho was also brilliant before his injury – the team just couldn’t, for whatever reason, keep a clean sheet.

So Klopp has to decide what’s more important when picking his strongest eleven right now. Is it that the side is playing very well, looking defensively stronger than it has all season? Or is it the potential of Fabinho, possibly the world’s best, strengthening things further?

Fabinho is the breakthrough Liveprool player of 2019

Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images

Right now, you’d surely edge towards the one that’s definitely working.

Fortunately, Liverpool don’t play a must-win game for quite some time and there’s no immediate need for a first-choice eleven.

There will be when they travel to Atletico Madrid 18th of next month, however. Klopp will need to know if Fabinho is in the first-team by that game. All the games until then will be about figuring that out.

Have something to tell us about this article?