Jurgen Klopp has a choice with Fabinho against Chelsea, one of which should come at the cost of Gini Wijnaldum. It’s certainly high-risk, however.
Fabinho is back. That’s great but where does he play? Jurgen Klopp admits there are two options – centre-back or holding midfield.
The Brazilian has primarily played centre-back this season, thanks to the injury crisis. That has left a big hole in midfield, though, given no one else can play holding midfield very well.
Except for Jordan Henderson but he played centre-back for a bit and thus he’s injured now. Because that’s how football works.
As Klopp mentioned, Gini Wijnaldum has covered for Fabinho in recent weeks. The Dutchman is a phenomenon in that regard, able to cover every midfield role.
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But he’s not elite at that particular one. Which is fine – no one is elite at everything.
Now we expect him to continue there and for Fabinho to play at the back. But if the boss wants the latter in midfield, we think Wijnaldum should drop out.
This would be a real risk. It means playing Ozan Kabak and Nat Phillips as your centre-backs up against a top side. We’re not sure Liverpool want to do that.
But perhaps it’s a case of wanting Fabinho back as a shield in front of them. That would have a knock-on effect in midfield.
Fabinho is so good at holding midfielder, after all, that it reduces the need for others to help. They immediately have more licence to get forward and wide, or press high up the pitch.
And if Fabinho does play there, we’d love to see Curtis Jones and Thiago either side of him.
Jones is flying right now and should start every big game going forward. We think he might even get better with Fabinho covering him, in fact.
While with Thiago, a holding midfielder could have a huge impact. We’ve discussed this before, in fact – the lack of a solid defensive player forces the Spaniard into areas he doesn’t want to be.
We really believe that we’ll see the best of Thiago once he has that holding player next to him. It’ll allow him to focus on what he does best, utilising skills that are the best in the world.
It’s certainly possible that Klopp would prefer £90k-a-week Wijnaldum and Fabinho together. That’s extra solidity in front of the questionable defence.
But we hope he goes with the attacking duo of Jones and Thiago. The potential there for movement and attacking link-up play is through the roof.