Two Liverpool players, in particular, will feel the pressure after Jordan Henderson had a long-term injury confirmed. The captain will be gone for a while.
Jordan Henderson should have been a saving grace, instead he’s out with injury. But that’s how it goes at Liverpool this season.
The captain will be out for up to 10 weeks, per the BBC, after undergoing surgery. And that creates several problems.
The hope was the defence could sort itself out and allow Henderson to return into midfield. That would immediately boost two struggling areas and the team would be indisputably better.
Henderson, after all, has lost once in over two years when starting as a midfielder. Liverpool move up a level with him there.
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That’s no longer an option for the next two months. And two players, in particular, will feel extra pressure.
First and foremost, it’s on Fabinho to hold things together. That will immediately be felt in how he can improve the defence.
The Brazilian should slot straight in for Henderson and hopefully solidify the role. Not that the captain was playing badly, there.
No matter what, though, Fabinho will be the most experienced defender, playing behind a porous midfield. It won’t be easy to keep things solid.
The real hope, though, will be that other players can correct the defence and Fabinho returns to midfield. Then he could have a similar effect to the one Henderson could have.
But that depends on someone else.
It’s not fair but Ozan Kabak will have even more pressure on him. He’s 20, playing in a new country, and hasn’t been around for a month yet – but that’s the reality of the situation.
Kabak needs to prove that he can quickly click with Liverpool. He’ll need to do that alongside an out-of-position Fabinho and, again, without proper midfield protection.
But if Kabak can perform and earn trust, Liverpool gain opportunities. Jurgen Klopp is far more likely to try the Ben Davies / Kabak partnership if the trusts the latter on his own.
That, in turn, could allow Fabinho to move back into midfield. But that only works if Kabak steps up.