David Lynch has been talking all things Liverpool on the most recent episode of the Blood Red podcast and he spent some time discussing Jurgen Klopp’s decision to play Fabinho at centre-back in recent weeks.
Injuries have plagued the reigning Premier League champions all season, with the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip all spending lengthy periods of time on the treatment table.
Liverpool’s problems at centre-back forced Klopp to play defensive midfielder Fabinho in the heart of defence in the first half of the season, but the January acquisition of Ozan Kabak allowed the Brazil international to move back into a move familiar role.
However, a recent problem for Kabak’s defensive partner Nat Phillips saw the 27-year-old South American return to centre-back for 1-1 draws against Leeds United and Newcastle United instead of trusting direct replacements Rhys Williams and Ben Davies, a decision Lynch thinks Klopp may regret.
He said: “So it’s a bit of a nightmare situation, they [Williams and Davies] could have been blooded and eased into it in the last two games, and they would have had that great protection in front of them of Fabinho, and now that opportunity has been missed.
“I think those are the two results that you’d say would have put Liverpool out of top-four contention. So, a decision I think Jurgen Klopp will probably regret and I think going into next season, obviously, you hope there won’t be even the need to play Fabinho at centre-half at any point.
“But I think even if there is, I don’t think he’s going to go down that route. He is, for me, the best holding midfielder, or probably top three holding midfielders in the world. And he needs to be in that position because it makes your defence far better, even if it’s good enough to not need that protection. He is so good at it. And I think he should never be moved from that position.”
TIF Thoughts on Klopp’s decision…
Fabinho has excelled since arriving in Liverpool following a £40m move from Monaco, winning the Champions League and Premier League in his first two seasons on English shores.
However, Liverpool’s absence from the top four has been caused by many issues occurring before their last two disappointing results, so Klopp’s regrets may not necessarily stem from his team selection against Leeds and Newcastle alone.