Fabinho must play in midfield but can Liverpool afford it?

Liverpool, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho (Photo by LAURENCE GRIFFITHS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Liverpool, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho (Photo by LAURENCE GRIFFITHS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Liverpool need to play Fabinho in midfield but can the club afford to do it against RB Leipzig in the Champions League?

The Brazilian didn’t take part in the defeat against Fulham but that was because Jurgen Klopp wanted to protect his star man, who had just come back from injury.

According to the BBC, the German said that it would be dangerous for Fabinho to take place in back-to-back Premier League fixtures.

"Klopp said: “He missed the Fulham game from the start as playing two games [back-to-back] is dangerous in our situation.”"

Having the former Monaco man available for selection is a massive positive force, and now Liverpool are fully stocked at the back, there’s the option for Klopp to return Fabinho to his natural role.

That’s something the Reds really need. Fabinho as a defensive midfielder is brilliant at protecting the back four, who need all the protection they can get, while playing the Brazilian further up the field also removes the possibility of his enthusiastic, but sometimes poorly timed, tackles aren’t punished as harshly as they are closer to the goal.

Fabinho as a defensive midfielder will also provide further strengthening of that high line, which Klopp has been insistent on using.

Liverpool need Fabinho at the back – for now

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However, it would mean a defence that consists of Rhys Williams, Ozan Kabak or Nat Phillips. For a Premier League back four, that would be highly risky and there’s certainly a strong argument to be had that Fabinho is a better central defender than at least two of those three.

Ben Davies could also be used, and is in the squad for the Leipzig game, as are the rest of the centre-backs mentioned above.

However, playing a back four that lacks experience in a massive game like this would be a dangerous move. Despite the positives of moving Fabinho back to midfield, Liverpool can’t afford to do it against Leipzig and must stick with him at the back for now.