Jurgen Klopp moved Fabinho into defence once again v Arsenal in the Community Shield. It’s a decision that could rule out a new signing in the position.
When Liverpool suffered against Manchester City in early July, Klopp made a notable defensive switch. Joe Gomez had a terrible first half and so the boss took him off and moved Fabinho into the middle of the defence.
We called this a luxury at the time. Dejan Lovren looked set to to leave the club and if Fabinho could cover his fourth-choice role, Liverpool could focus on other positions when spending their money.
Fast forward nearly two months and Lovren has indeed gone. Tellingly, Liverpool haven’t replaced him with two weeks before the season starts. We haven’t even seen many rumours suggesting the Reds are about to spring for a centre-half.
And the Community Shield defeat against Arsenal suggests why – Fabinho.
Liverpool weren’t too bad defensively on Saturday. Going forward, however, they were terrible. That prompted changes, one of which was moving Gomez out to right-back where Neco Williams had been playing.
No Joel Matip meant Fabinho was now the obvious choice to deputise alongside Virgil van Dijk. So that’s two games against difficult opponents where Klopp has trusted Fabinho to do a job.
Seeing it once doesn’t mean too much. Klopp could merely be trying something or felt he had no other options. But it’s twice now and both times against a decent attack.
And if Klopp trusts Fabinho there, then there’s no need to sign anyone. Liverpool have the numbers to cover his absence in midfield and as fourth-choice, he won’t need to move very often.
As we said after the City game, that means Liverpool can focus transfer funds into midfield and attack. That could be vital at a time where they’re reportedly considering a move for Thiago.