Premier League • England

Carragher can’t believe one Liverpool scapegoat’s downturn, naming player Klopp urgently needs

Mo Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho

Mo Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho pictured during Liverpool training

Jamie Carragher has pinpointed one player whom he cannot work out “what is going on with” after another bad result for Liverpool.

After thrashing Rangers, beating champions Manchester City and defeating West Ham, it looked like Liverpool might be turning a corner in their season recently. But their inconsistencies returned on Saturday, when they lost 1-0 to Nottingham Forest.

It was a disappointing result against a promoted side who have not started the season in the best of manners themselves. More questions will be coming the way of Jurgen Klopp’s men as a consequence.

Many have noticed a downturn in the performances of several of their players this season. For example, Trent Alexander-Arnold has been coming under increasing scrutiny. Elsewhere in defence, Virgil van Dijk has not looked like his former self.

The spotlight has also been on big summer signing Darwin Nunez at the opposite end of the pitch, as well as Mohamed Salah to some extent.

But in the middle of it all, one player who has been struggling to show the best of himself is Fabinho. And after the defeat to Nottingham Forest, Carragher took to Twitter to question “what is going on” with the Brazilian enforcer.

Carragher wrote: “Steve Cooper has changed Forest in the last few weeks to be a lot harder to beat. Tactically very good again today.

“Liverpool were awful, what is going on with Fabinho. Konate is needed back ASAP!”

Fabinho one of many under scrutiny at Liverpool

Against Nottingham Forest, Fabinho was supposed to be protecting a centre-back partnership of Van Dijk and Joe Gomez. Those defenders could be looking over their shoulders, though, when Ibrahima Konate returns from injury.

Signed from RB Leipzig for a substantial sum in 2021, Konate has had to be patient for opportunities in the Premier League so far. But with his return to training almost due, he could be ready to make his case for further starts.

Klopp needs to do something to find the right formula for his players after struggling to settle on the right setup so far in 2022-23.

Carragher is right to identify Fabinho as someone who has not been up to his usual standard. This is not the first time he has suggested so; earlier this month, he described the former Monaco man as “miles off the pace”.

How Liverpool rectify the issue remains to be seen. Their whole midfield has been under scrutiny since it is a somewhat ageing department of their squad. It is believed it will be a priority area for them to look at in the transfer market in 2023.

But until recently, Fabinho has been one of their more reliable options in that territory. They need him to become more dependable again to ensure they still have a solid structure.

Behind him, there is no reason why Konate shouldn’t be given more of a chance when back at full fitness. The club bought him for a reason, after all. He is one of many who will soon need to stand up and prove their worth.

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