Premier League champions Liverpool have been handed a timely boost ahead of their match against Chelsea, with Fabinho set to return.
Jurgen Klopp revealed ahead of the game that the £54m-rated midfielder is “available” for selection in what is sure to be hugely positive news ahead of what now looks like a pivotal tie in the race for the top four.
Former Reds midfielder Graham Souness has already suggested that Klopp has “got to play” the ex-Monaco man should he be available – advice that the German should heed.
Having missed six out of the last seven Premier League games prior to the meeting with Chelsea at Anfield on Thursday, the Reds have really felt his absence. The Merseysiders have lost three out of the six matches in which he has not played.
Should he be reintroduced into the starting line-up, it only seems logical to play Fabinho at centre-back.
So far this season, he has played 14 times at the back for the Reds in the Premier League and would certainly be an improvement on youngster Nat Phillips.
When comparing the two, it’s the 12-time-capped Brazilian who clearly comes out on top.
In matches played so far throughout 2020/21, Fabinho contributes two tackles per game to Phillips’ 1.3 according to WhoScored, whilst he is also outperforming the 23-year-old in regards to interceptions; 1.4 to 1.1.
Fabinho’s composure and calmness also make him even more of a viable option to play against Chelsea on Thursday. In matches played so far this season, the Brazilian is only committing 0.8 fouls per game, whilst Phillips is giving away 1.8.
Against a team blessed with the creative talents such as Chelsea, any free-kicks or fouls given away could be hugely damaging.
Whilst some will argue that Fabinho is far more effective in a midfield role, the pressing need at centre-back is even greater.
The likes of Thiago, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all options that can be called into midfield, whilst there is a severe lack of players capable of being deployed at centre-back at Anfield.
Klopp then should reintroduce Fabinho back into the starting line-up and partner him with winter arrival Ozan Kabak for the key tie against Chelsea.