Liverpool secured two deadline-day deals during the January transfer window, with the club bringing in some much-needed defensive reinforcements.
This was a late show of desperation from Jurgen Klopp’s behalf following the season-ending injury to Joel Matip. The 29-year-old joins Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez on the long-term list of defensive absentees.
Fabinho the big winner for Liverpool
The signing of two centre-backs within hours of each-other demonstrates just how badly the additions of Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak were needed.
And as a result, Fabinho is the big winner from the past month.
He ended the month injured and having been forced to deputise in an unfavoured role at the heart of Liverpool’s defence.
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Jordan Henderson was even brought in to partner the Brazilian on several occasions with all three of Liverpool’s senior centre backs plagued by injury this season.
With the addition of two centre-backs, however, Fabinho could be set to return to his preferred central midfield duties.
Davies joins Liverpool for an initial £500,000 with the potential for a further £1.1 million based on a specific set of clauses, per The ECHO.
Meanwhile, Edwards was able to finalise the acquisition of Kabak on a try-before-you-buy agreement of sorts.
A loan fee of £1m loan fee with £500,000 in add-ons was agreed with the option to buy in the summer, as opposed to an obligation. If Liverpool want to make the transfer permanent, a fee of £18m is seen as an ideal solution.
What is Liverpool’s short-term plan?
Liverpool’s position in January had been pretty clear. The club only wanted to make additions if absolutely necessary. Recent injuries to Matip and Fabinho ultimately forced the clubs hand to act.
The double acquisition of Davies and Kabak, then, should be enough to see Fabinho brought back into the midfield mix for the first time since October.
With Nathaniel Phillips also impressing in recent performances at the back, too, Liverpool have three impressive options to hold down places at the heart of the defence. 19-year-old Rhys Williams represents another viable alternative.
With that said, the need for Fabinho to play in defence is suddenly reduced. It’s unlikely two players were brought in with a long-term view to maintain one of Klopp’s best midfielders in an unnatural position.
If the likes of Kabak or Davies are to get injured then at least they still have Fabinho to deputise. It’s not ideal, but Liverpool should have enough depth to get us to the end of the season.
In the summer, a decision for another defensive addition could be made relevant again. Matip’s latest setback hints that a long-term replacement is certainly warranted.
For now, however, we are just glad to see the Reds tackle their defensive shortcomings with decisive action in the transfer market. Hopefully, now, we can see Fabinho back to his brilliant best where he belongs.