By Connor Varnish – @cvarn4
Despite loads of scoring chances, the Reds failed to capitalise against a Bayern side that seemed keen on settling for a draw at Anfield in the Champions League this past week.
Liverpool threatened all night but to no avail – but it’s not the amount of chances Liverpool created that has supporters raving. Perhaps the most noteworthy performance came in the shape of a certain Brazilian that rounded out Liverpool’s back line on Tuesday.
Fabinho was simply brilliant and arguably the leading factor contributing to Liverpool’s 0-0 clean sheet. Let’s not forget the Brazilian arguably played in his third choice position at centre back.
All he had to do was come out and stifle a Bayern Munchen attack including the likes of Lewandowski, James Rodriguez, and Kingsley Coman to name a few.
Fabinho slotted in seamlessly as he always seemed to time every tackle to perfection and positioned himself to stay ahead of the Bayern attack while also putting his body on the line in front of goal to deny the opposition on multiple occasions.
Fabinho exceeded nearly all fans’ expecations against Bayern and that’s got a few calling for him to partner with Virgil van Dijk this upcoming weekend as the Reds travel to Old Trafford.
Should Jurgen persist with Fabinho in his back line in this vital fixture against United on Sunday? Or should he choose to reintigrate him into a midfield that Fabinho, just a few weeks prior, cemented himself as one of the first on the team sheet?
While Fabinho undoubtedly provides more than capable cover as centre back for the Reds as evidence of his clean sheet against the German giants in Bayern, I feel as though he’d be too big of a miss to our midfield should Jurgen opt for the Brazilian to continue as a member of the Reds’ defence.
United away is too big of a match to select a centre back pairing that have never played a competitive match together Assuming the fitness of Joel Matip holds up, Matip should prove a sufficient partner to our number 4 while Klopp unleashes Fabinho’s full ability in midfield once again.
It’s worth noting that Fabinho played a vital role in unlocking United’s defence last time out – his looping ball over top that assisted Sadio Mane opened the scoring in the reverse fixture and I think all Liverpool supporters are excited to see more of the same craftiness and aggressiveness from our Brazilian in this derby.
Additionally, Liverpool have struggled at Old Trafford in recent history. The Reds have failed to win at United in their last five visits – Klopp would do well to field the more experienced centre back partnership in Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip – ultimately allowing Fabinho to operate in a holding midfield position that he’s made his own over the past month or so.
A silver lining to all this is that Klopp and Liverpool supporters can be assured that Fabinho is a quality centre back cover should Matip and Lovren pick up a knock as they so often do.
The most important thing at the weekend is the three points available at Old Trafford – and i believe our best chances of achieving maximum points involve a midfield that contains the likes of Fabinho.