Fabinho showed off a new ability against Leicester City in Liverpool’s 3-0 win. It’s one that will delight Jurgen Klopp going forward.
Jurgen Klopp’s job got a little easier after Sunday’s win. There are at least a dozen reasons we could say that, in truth, but one stands out.
It comes from Fabinho, who demonstrated a new skill against Leicester City. It’s a subtle one but it bodes fantastically well for the season.
Fabinho played centre-half against Leicester. It was always going to be that or holding midfield, of course, and Klopp went for defence.
It’s easy to understand why. The Foxes know how to attack – especially Jamie Vardy – and Klopp was likely reluctant to throw an inexperienced kid into the mix.
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So Fabinho played alongside Matip. But while he’s played centre-half before, this was a new experience.
Whenever Fabinho has previously played there, he’s been on the right of the partnership. He’d either slot in alongside Virgil van Dijk – who always plays on the left – or Joe Gomez, who took over Van Dijk’s spot after the injury.
And that all made sense for the Brazilian. He’s right-footed and has a history at right-back. Putting him on the right was a comfort zone – something very important when he’s out of position.
But against Leicester, Fabinho played on the left. That’s a subtle difference but it means two great things going forward.
Firstly, it shows Fabinho is comfortable in the position. Either side, he can play well and doesn’t look out of place. That’s simply fantastic, given the injury crisis.
But it also means Klopp can play anyone alongside him. Certain players may not be so comfortable switching sides like that and many defenders stick to one for their entire career.
Fabinho looks comfortable at either, though, and the boss can move him to accommodate his partner. That’s particularly important if Fabinho plays with an academy player.
A young player will almost certainly need to play on their ‘preferred’ side. That was a potential problem if Fabinho was only problem playing off his right and covering a right-back. Fortunately, he can play alongside anyone Klopp chooses.
This is great news, then. It will make dealing with the crisis far simpler and Klopp’s job is easier.