Ben Davies comes in to Liverpool and immediately holds a niche position at the club. He signed for the Reds on transfer deadline day.
Liverpool have a crisis at centre-back but in comes Ben Davies to dramatically strengthen the position. As does Ozan Kabak, of course.
But Davies, with his potential £1.6m fee, is the real surprise signing. A 25-year-old Championship defender but one with plenty of promise.
He’ll get games, too. Joel Matip is now out for the rest of the season, joining Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
Liverpool now have none of the centre-backs they started the season with. It’s an unprecedented situation.
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So Davies comes in to help rectify things. And in doing so, he carves out a niche in the squad without even kicking a ball.
Davies is a left-footed centre-back and Liverpool don’t actually have any of those. The last was Ragnar Klavan, but he’s been gone for a little while now.
But none of Van Dijk, Gomez or Matip are left-football. Fabinho, who has played there most of the season, is right-footed, too.
Both Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips prefer their right – as does Jordan Henderson, who has covered the role.
And Jurgen Klopp admits that Davies being left-footed was an appeal.
“That he has a good left foot was a reason [we wanted him] because he has a really good left foot,” he said, per Liverpoolfc.com.
It’s a small thing, in truth, but one that does add a few more tactical options.
How Davies covers Andy Robertson, for instance, will be different to the others. He’s far more likely to step out and full cover that position when the Scot is up the pitch.
Davies did briefly play the role while breaking through as Preston, in fact.
The way he can naturally stop players on Liverpool’s right flank from cutting inside is new, too. He can offer similar play in that regard as everyone else can on the left.
How he passes into midfield is different, too. He will be more confident playing in a wider position when Liverpool split their centre-backs.
Davies can also comfortably run wide with the ball – again, it’s new.
These are all small things but they help offer a new dimension at the back. It’s an interesting little niche that Davies immediately has and it does sound as though Klopp wants to use it.