Where Liverpool's 6 available 'centre-backs' currently stand under Jurgen Klopp


“If someone comes to me and tells me that we have a player with a minor problem, I know it is going to a central defender. That’s how it is all the time, it’s unbelievable.”

Jurgen Klopp’s words before Liverpool’s Champions League tie with RB Leipzig could probably sum up their entire season in truth, but in the end they got the job done in Budapest.

It was there that Jordan Henderson and Ozan Kabak continued as the club’s 17th different central defensive partnership of the season, with the clean sheet kept proving a welcome boost after the 3-1 defeat at Leicester City last weekend.

It is Everton next up for the Reds, and with injuries still an issue when it comes to Klopp’s selection of his defenders, we take a look at just where the last men standing (kind of) are currently fitting into the German’s plans.

The encouraging one: Ozan Kabak



Liverpool fans voted Kabak as their man of the match for the win over Leipzig
Liverpool fans voted Kabak as their man of the match for the win over Leipzig

You suspect the fact that he ran away with Liverpool’s post-game Twitter man of the match poll was a little down to supporter giddiness over seeing an actual centre-back do actual centre-back things, but Kabak was good against Leipzig.

The new arrival did everything that was asked of him on a difficult night when the Bundesliga side really ramped up their press, something that Liverpool don’t often face in the Premier League these days.

READ  What Alisson told Liverpool's doctor after being given shoulder injury diagnosis

It should continue to be stressed that the Turkish international is only 20, but he’s come in and taken the mantle of Liverpool’s No.1 centre-back who is actually a centre-back pretty quickly.

He should stay in the team.

The reluctant one: Jordan Henderson



All of Henderson's Premier League appearances in 2021 have been in the centre of defence
All of Henderson’s Premier League appearances in 2021 have been in the centre of defence

He’ll keep on playing there and he won’t grumble, at least not in public, but it is clear that Liverpool need Henderson back in midfield if they are to get anywhere near what they are fully capable of in the remainder of the season.

The captain’s displays at the back have largely been excellent when he’s been called upon though, and he also has the ability to play those long, Virgil van Dijk-esque passes from centre-back that have been lost this season.

He’ll stay there for now you’d think, although a return to his best position should come sooner or later.

The surprise one: Ben Davies



Davies hasn't yet played since his signing from Preston
Davies hasn’t yet played since his signing from Preston

Davies got his full integration into Liverpool life when he picked up an injury that kept him out of the squad for the Leicester game, although he probably wouldn’t have played anyway.

His arrival was certainly a welcome one, but it remains to be seen just when his chance in the first-team will come.

He’s definitely behind Kabak in the pecking order, and probably behind Henderson and Fabinho too.

The one who’s actually done okay: Nat Phillips



Phillips has figured far more than he'd have expected
Phillips has figured far more than he’d have expected

Actually, Davies could be behind Nat Phillips as well.

READ  Martin Keown reacts to Mikel Arteta’s decision to bench Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs Aston Vila

The rough and ready 23-year-old is having one of the more unlikely Liverpool careers in recent times, but he can’t be faulted for his recent displays against West Ham and Tottenham.

As he suits playing against more physical sides (so the Championship, largely) then there is a chance that he could come into the reckoning for the game at Sheffield United later this month, and he’d probably deserve that.

It would still be a surprise if he was at Liverpool beyond this season though.

The one who can be taken out of the spotlight: Rhys Williams



Williams will benefit from playing football back in his age group
Williams will benefit from playing football back in his age group

In a normal season the recently-turned 20-year-old might have been hoping to get a League Cup game or a substitute appearance somewhere, but he’s played in six Champions League group games, got 11 appearances in all and come up against players the quality of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Marcus Rashford.

It is now the time to send him back down to the youth levels though as he bids to overcome what were sometimes difficult moments against senior stars.

It would be a surprise to see him again this season, although in this campaign you can never rule anything out.

The one who needs to return: Fabinho



Fabinho has missed the last two games with a muscle problem
Fabinho has missed the last two games with a muscle problem

We say ‘available’ but in truth we just don’t know.

Liverpool are hoping to have Fabinho ready to face Everton on Saturday, but Klopp tends to err on the side of caution in matters such as these, and it would be no surprise if the Brazilian sat out another game.

READ  Ashley Young snubs Man Utd contract and agrees free transfer to Inter Milan

When he’s fit, he might just be the preferred partner to Kabak in what could resemble Liverpool’s first-choice central defensive partnership for the rest of the season.

Although they probably shouldn’t call it that, because whenever they do then things tend to go wrong.





READ SOURCE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here