Liverpool is looking for a defensive partner for Fabinho despite Klopp’s experiment.
The shock treatment of St. Mary’s park has been the salt on the wound of Reds backline. The injured centre-backs including the icon Virgil Van Dijk forced Jurgen Klopp to experiment with the current squad. The 27-year-old Brazilian centre-back Fabinho is the victim of Klopp’s experiment at Liverpool.
The last fixture of the champions against Southampton was Klopp’s 41st defensive combination that paired captain Henderson with Fabinho. The absence of Van Dijk is really affecting the defensive line of champions.
The Merseyside derby of October ruled Van Dijk out of the competition which Reds managed to end up in a 2-2 draw. Now, defensive midfield options and the sharpness of the attack is able to cover it up.
Another defensive option that Klopp had was Joel Matip. The 29-year old suffered an injury n the West Brom fixture and Klopp forced to bring the 19-year-old Rhys Williams for the stopper back role. Even after that, the backline was struggling to maintain the territorial dominance in their half.
Liverpool defense exploited by Southampton
The 23-year-old English defender Nathaniel Phillips was the pick for Klopp in the Newcastle fixture. The inexperienced Phillips struggled to keep the position with Fabinho in the backline. Anyway, they managed to win a draw with a clean sheet.
After the West Brom game, Jurgen Klopp has clearly observed the lack of position in the space between midfield and defense. This opened the way for Jordan Henderson to the backline. Also, the midfield line led by Thiago was not that effective with Oxlade Chamberlain and Wijnaldum on the sides.
The forward line was not able to convert the chances into the goal with missing Henderson in the attacking moves. Also, Thiago’s more attention in the defensive gap reduced the pace of the front three. The match ended up in a 1-0 loss for the champions and the backroom staff at Anfield also took it as a serious hit in the title race.
Liverpool hope in the transfer window
As the Premier League transfer window opened in January, teams are looking for the patch works that can strengthen the squads for the rest of the season. Liverpool team management is not sure about the return of their injured centre-backs but the hope is still on according to DailyStar.
The departure of Dejan Lovren has laid a space in the defensive option list of Klopp. In the case of Matip’s fitness issues, Reds will lookup for a backup partner for Fabinho till the return of Van Dijk. The defensive combination of Allison-Van Dijk was crucial in the last two seasons for the Reds.
This year, the title race is tougher with the red contenders from Manchester. After two years of competition with City, Liverpool is now taking on Ole’s army in charge. The transfer rumors are strong enough in England. Major teams are tracking down the first eleven of Klopp for this window. The contract extension of Wijnaldum is yet to confirm as per Transfermarkt.
Liverpool is leading the table sharing points with Manchester United as of now. January 17th is a mess for Klopp. The fixture against traditional rivals Manchester United will be the clash of titans that shapes the table order. Dealing with the defensive line is the priority of Klopp before the United clash.