Jose Enrique has predicted that Jurgen Klopp will hand an inaugural Premier League bout to deadline-day signing Ben Davies against Sheffield United on Sunday.
Liverpool brought in the 25-year-old from Preston North End on the final day of the January transfer window, alongside Ozan Kabak from Schalke.
While 20-year-old Kabak has featured in Liverpool’s previous three fixtures, Davies has had to remain patient for his opportunity, although Enrique believes his chance will fall to him this weekend.
The Anfield icon has backed Klopp to hand Davies a Premier League debut when the Reds make the trip to Bramall Lane on Sunday.
Davies, Kabak or Phillips?
Enrique also believes that Davies’ centre-back partner for the clash against Chris Wilder’s struggling side will come in the form of Nathaniel Phillips.
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The 23-year-old has barely put a foot wrong in the matches he has played for Liverpool this season, with the rangy defender clocking up seven PL appearances in 2020/21.
Phillips, then, could come into the team for Jordan Henderson, who was handed a eight-week lay-off following a groin injury in the 2-0 defeat to Everton last Saturday.
Fabinho, too, is also unlikely to feature after Klopp confirmed that the Brazilian will only return in today’s light training session.
This effectively leaves the Liverpool boss with just Davies, Kabak and Phillips to pick from at centre-back.
And Enrique has backed Klopp to utilise his 19th different central defensive combination this season in the form of Phillips and Davies.
“Which center-back pairing would you use for the game against Sheffield?” Enrique asked his followers on Instagram.
“With Fabinho only returning to training tomorrow and the rest of our options injured, it comes down to Davies, Phillips, and Kabak.
“In my opinion, it will be Davies either with Phillips or Kabak I’m not sure but I’m going down more for Philips but definitely want to see Davies play is never going to be a better chance for him because when Fabinho is back we know what happens. So, which pair you will play if you were Klopp?”
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As Enrique rightly eluded to, Klopp won’t ever have a better opening to utilise Davies than at present.
He can’t afford to wait, either. Liverpool have suffered far too many setbacks to not at least attempt to conjure up an alternative solution.
If there was anything we learned from Kabak’s most recent performance, it was that he’s culpable of making the occasional error, while he’ll also need time to hone his craft.
Such a luxury isn’t afforded to Liverpool at present, with the club playing catch-up in the bid for a top-four finish this season.
So, it’s obvious, then, that Klopp at least presents Davies with the same opportunity that Kabak has been afforded in recent weeks.
Start the process now and Liverpool could have three trusted options to regularly rotate between now and the remainder of the season.
This also will enable Fabinho to finally return to midfield when he eventually does make his full recovery.
Davies was clearly brought in for a reason at the start of the month. It’s time Liverpool took advantage of that and get the ball rolling on Sunday.