The agonising decision Jurgen Klopp must make

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool, Adrian, Trent Alexander-Arnold (Photo by Oli Scarff - Pool/Getty Images)
Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool, Adrian, Trent Alexander-Arnold (Photo by Oli Scarff - Pool/Getty Images) /

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has an agonising decision to make as he prepares for the Chelsea clash.

The win against Sheffield United was nice, but it’s not enough. The race for the top four is in full swing, and the Reds are currently two points behind West Ham – who sit in fourth.

Chelsea is fifth, one place above Liverpool, and are just one point above Klopp’s men. This means the clash is absolutely vital in terms of shaping the final points tally.

Liverpool need to beat Chelsea

Thomas Tuchel’s boys haven’t lost any of their last five games, although three of those were draws. On the other hand, Liverpool has won just one of the last five – the victory over the Blades.

It’s been an unprecedented series of bad form from Klopp’s team – and now he’s got a serious decision to make before one of the biggest matches of the season.

Fabinho is set to return to the squad, said the official club website, but where will Klopp play him? Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak played really well together against Sheffield United, and deserve to keep their place in the team.

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What role will Fabinho play?

The temptation must be to keep that centre-back pairing and play Fabinho in midfield for the first time since Joel Matip and Joe Gomez went down injured.

But that would require two very inexperienced defenders to bear the brunt of Chelsea’s attack, which could be fronted by a line-up of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Olivier Giroud.

That would be a stern test for Phillips and Kabak, who may have done well against the Premier League’s worst attack but might not work as well against the Blues.

And so Klopp could drop Phillips, who doesn’t deserve it, to play Fabinho at the back. Doing that would sacrifice everything the Brazilian gives to our midfield when we’ve got fit and available centre-backs who are ready to go.

What will our manager do? Go with experience but risk being overwhelmed in midfield, or reward youth but risk the side being unstuck because of their lack of experience?