Former Liverpool defender Glen Johnson says teams “will fancy their chances” against Fabinho while the midfielder is filling in at centre back for the Premier League champions.
With Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip both currently injured, the Reds are short of central defensive options. As the transfer window is now closed, Jurgen Klopp will have to make use of his current alternatives.
He turned to Fabinho in his side’s Champions League clash with Ajax on Wednesday, the Brazilian partnering Joe Gomez at the back. He put in a solid performance too, helping Liverpool to a clean sheet and brilliantly clearing Dusan Tadic’s effort off the line.
Naturally a defensive midfielder, Fabinho is expected to continue in the role for Saturday evening’s clash with Sheffield United at Anfield. The Merseyside club will be looking to record their first league win in three games against the Chris Wilder’s Blades.
But despite his confident showing in Amsterdam, Johnson believes Liverpool’s high line could eventually catch him out.
Speaking to Premier League Productions (via Goal), he said: “Obviously I was an attacking full-back and when I played alongside [John Terry], I knew I didn’t have to come back that far. I knew he’d win the ball back and I could stay high in an aggressive position.
“But when you play with other centre-halves, you have to defend, you have to tuck in. I think it will alter their games, they will have to be reigned in a little bit.
“Everyone will know they’re going to be high, sometimes at the same time. The so-called smaller teams, they won’t even be looking. They’ll just play the ball into the space these guys will be leaving.
“Someone will fancy their chances one-on-one with Fabinho.”
The former Monaco enforcer has played at centre back for Liverpool in the past. He did so twice in the 2018/19 season, while he also featured there a further two times already this term.
Injured van Dijk sends teammates uplifting message
Despite receiving the devastating news that he has been ruled out for the rest of the season, Virgil van Dijk is still trying to inspire the Liverpool squad.
The Dutchman suffered a torn ACL in last week’s Merseyside derby and is now set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
However, Jordan Henderson has revealed that van Dijk sent his teammates a message in attempt to raise their spirits.
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