Fabinho returned to Liverpool’s midfield when he came on as a substitute in the loss to Fulham on Sunday.
Even though the Reds could not find an equaliser to stave off a sixth consecutive home defeat, the 27-year-old was able to offer them a glimpse of what they had been missing in the middle of the park.
The Brazilian came up with three ball recoveries in the space of 15 minutes and helped sustain his team’s pressure on the Fulham goal (via WhoScored).
Jurgen Klopp’s Fabinho headache
Jurgen Klopp must now decide whether to keep him there for the Champions League round of 16 second leg against RB Leipzig on Wednesday or move him back into defence.
Using Fabinho as a holding midfielder would mean placing trust in the inexperienced duo of Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak to clean up at centre-back if Leipzig bypass the midfield. It would be Phillips’ European debut after he was left out of the Reds’ initial Champions League squad.
Kabak, incidentally, was missing through injury at the weekend but the expectation is that he will return for the trip to Budapest (via The Athletic).
The hope is that playing central defenders in central defence and defensive midfielders in defensive midfield restores structure and balance to this pale imitation of a Liverpool team.
Here are the verdicts from some Kopites on the dilemma in response to a tweet from news feed LFC Transfer Room, with one wanting the Brazilian back in midfield “ASAP”.
These Reds fans want Fabinho shielding Kabak and Phillips
“This is probably the CB pairing we should try to have fit for the rest of the season. Fabinho in midfield asap.”
“Yes please but it won’t happen. If Fab is fit, he’ll be back there. The fact that he dominated playing the 6 when he subbed in on Sunday won’t change the mind of the gaffer.”
“Watch Klopp play Fab at CB. Time to take some risks now.”
“It’s Phillips +1 now, he’s earned it”
“It’s all about extra protections around the centre halves. And no high line plz”
“ABSOLUTELY YES, BRING BACK THAT INTENSITY”
“Perfect. Not sure why anyone would want Fabinho in CB”
“Fab must be back to mid, if not same result”
In other news, Kabak is not the only likely returnee for the Leipzig clash.
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