Liverpool now have 10 different centre-back options available to them. So when should they use them?
The new signings bump Liverpool up to 10 centre-back options, if we go by the likely players we’ll see there. We have those players down as Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Nat Phillips, Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies.
So here are each of the pairings – and how we think Jurgen Klopp should use them.
Fabinho – Henderson
This pairing really hasn’t been bad. Surprisingly good, in fact, but what we dislike the most is how much it takes away from midfield.
As of a few days ago, Klopp reportedly wanted to use them together against Manchester City today. If that’s true, we hope that’s the last time they’re a centre-back pairing.
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The midfield needs at least one of them back.
Fabinho – Phillips
We don’t know how often we’ll now see Phillips. The signings suggest not much, even if he has played well this season.
If Davies and Kabak are up to speed anytime soon, it’ll surely remove Phillips from contention. When he does play, however, we hope it’s with Fabinho.
Fabinho – Davies
An interesting one. Fabinho has the experience in top-flight games but Davies is far more experienced as a centre-back.
This will probably be how we first see Davies, rather than throwing him in with anyone else. It has the potential to be a good partnership, too, and one we’ll hopefully see soon in a routine Premier League fixture.
Fabinho – Kabak
We expect this is what Liverpool will build towards as a first-choice partnership this season. Fabinho has played very well at centre-back and Kabak is the most talented available.
We hope it’s how Klopp goes against City, honestly. It shouldn’t be too long before we see it in big games, though.
This is the most likely successful duo, in our eyes.
Henderson – Phillips
This one doesn’t make any sense to us anymore. We don’t think it should be used again.
Henderson – Davies
We don’t expect to see it but one reason it might be a go-to at some point is for the language barrier. Both speak English fluently (obviously) and having Henderson guide Davies through a game might speed up his integration.
Other than that, there’s little reason to go there.
Henderson – Kabak
The only way he can see this happening is if Fabinho is injured and Klopp doesn’t trust Kabak and Davies for whatever reason.
In that specific situation, we can see it happening. It would probably work, too, with Henderson as the calmer, covering defender to allow Kabak to step out.
But it’s likely only going to happen if Fabinho can’t play.
Phillips – Davies
We’d be shocked if we ever saw this. At the same time, both are natural defenders and if Klopp trusted them, it would allow Fabinho and Henderson to both return to midfield.
But using two defenders who don’t have much or any top-flight experience feels too risky.
Phillips – Kabak
It might happen? It feels more likely than the previous example as Kabak has Bundesliga experience. But still quite unlikely.
Phillips will likely fade from the first-team setup, unless one of the signings just doesn’t work out.
Kabak – Davies
This is the dream partnership. If it works out and they succeed, then both Henderson and Fabinho return to midfield and Liverpool look strong again.
But it relies on each player succeeding and proving the doubts wrong.
Kabak is very young and playing in a new country. He’s shown that doesn’t limit him before but at the same time, he’s only won one game this season.
This will be very different to life at Schalke and Stuttgart. Can he quickly get up to speed? We’ll see.
Davies has never played at the top level before. We have no real idea if he can – it’s a wait-and-see thing.
So it’ll take some time and a bit of luck but this is the best of all the centre-back options for Liverpool. If it does, the entire team benefits immensely and the midfield is a lot stronger, too.