Liverpool can use either Jordan Henderson or Fabinho to help Thiago. The Spaniard is in need of a helping hand.
Jamie Carragher labelled Thiago a ‘defensive liability’ after Liverpool lost 3-1 to Leicester City. That’s not exactly what the Reds had in mind when they paid £20m for him.
His problems in defence aren’t new, though. In fact, we discussed them recently. Thiago fouls too much, averaging the most per 90 for Liverpool.
Only, he also wins the most tackles. There’s an obvious conclusion there – Thiago is far too active in defence.
We know why, too. Jordan Henderson and Fabinho have both been centre-backs in 2021, leaving the midfield without a solid defensive shield.
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That creates a rotating duty in midfield. Without someone to play that role, the three chosen midfielders rotate who is standing in front of defence.
And some players, like Thiago, just aren’t suited to that. They prefer having someone in midfield who can break up play, taking responsibility away from them.
So with Thiago far too active in defence, Liverpool need to move someone back there to ease the pressure. That can be either Henderson or Fabinho – it really doesn’t matter.
Both are elite at the role and both would instantly become the chief defensive midfielder. Thiago, then, can focus on being more of a ‘help defender’. Someone who assists in defence, rather than taking the reigns on it.
Liverpool don’t want him to be the one making last-ditch tackles and trying to limit the opposition’s most creative players. They want him pressing and choosing his tackles carefully – that’s Thiago at his defensive best.
That has to mean at least one defensive midfielder in the team, though. Hopefully, either Ozan Kabak or Ben Davies can push one of Henderson or Fabinho back into midfield to help Thiago.
Liverpool will be far better off as a result.