Liverpool midfielder Fabinho has completely stopped putting challenges in like he used to.
That’s the view of BBC pundit Micah Richards. Speaking on BBC 5 Live’s Monday Night Club yesterday, the former England defender gave his version of Liverpool’s midfield troubles.
“Unfortunately now, with Fabinho – his legs have not gone – but he’s not making those challenges that he used to make,” Richards claimed. “Thiago is more of a flair player, Henderson is not going up and down like he used to be.
“He’s [Henderson] still putting in a great shift, but where they used to dominate in midfield higher up the pitch, which allowed the front players to go and attack, it’s too easy to get from back to front at this moment in time.
“They focus too much on the attacking side of the game and a lot of teams now have worked Liverpool out. If you break that first line of press, you can get at them.”
The issues are about as plain and obvious as they can be for a top level football side. And yet, Jurgen Klopp and co don’t seem to be able to do anything about it. Worrying.
Another game day, another midfielder puzzle
Tonight gives Liverpool another chance to prove their critics wrong. Unfortunately, it also gives Klopp’s side another chance to prove them right
Tonight at Wolves it would be a major surprise to see the midfield of Fabinho, Thiago and Henderson line up again, though.
But that probably won’t make too much difference. No matter the personnel in the middle of the park for Liverpool this season, the result has been largely the same. As a result, it would be unfair maybe to pin the whole blame on one or two players.
It’s clear that Fabinho is the key, though. When the Brazilian is on form, there are few better in his role in the whole of world football. He’s been doing a superb job consistently since his £44m move in 2018.
Now, he just looks like he needs some time out of the spotlight. He needs a player next to him with the legs to cover his slight shortcomings. Unfortunately, neither Henderson nor Thiago have the legs to do that anymore. None of Klopp’s other options do either, save for perhaps Naby Keita.
Still only twenty-nine, there’s every chance that Fabinho still has a renaissance in a Liverpool shirt. But without the necessary help around him, that becomes so much more unlikely. Liverpool need midfielders. What’s new?