Rio Ferdinand believes Jurgen Klopp will bring Fabinho back into the starting line-up as Liverpool head to the Emirates on Sunday.
Speaking to BT Sport via the Liverpool Echo last night, Ferdinand claimed that Fabinho will return to start against Arsenal.
“I think Fabinho comes in and plays against Arsenal,” said the pundit. “In defensive positions in midfield, he’s fantastic, been a mainstay, so I don’t see him not coming in and playing. Having those four attacking players on the pitch tonight (against Rangers) was perfect. I think Arsenal is a completely different proposition and I think they won’t be able to play as freely and expansively as they did today.”
It was a slight surprise to see Fabinho dropped for the Rangers game last night. As Ferdinand points out though, his defensive qualities may be needed against the in-form Gunners.
Fabinho sent warning that he needs to up his game
Fabinho ended up being the casualty to facilitate Liverpool’s switch to a different formation last night.
He has turned the No.6 position into an art form over his four years at Anfield. But switching to a two-man midfield, Klopp felt he needed the legs of Jordan Henderson alongside Thiago instead.
There are probably a number of reasons for that. Henderson’s ability to cover ground is likely one. But maybe more pertinently, Fabinho seems to need time to get used to different roles.
With Liverpool barely having time to practice their new formation in training, perhaps Klopp didn’t feel the Brazilian was quite ready for it. There were also reports that Fabinho was ignoring instructions from the manager against Brighton on Saturday.
Additionally, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the Brazil international hasn’t been great this season. He’s far from alone in that in this Liverpool squad, but the 28-year-old isn’t providing the cover he’s become known for.
In that sense, maybe it isn’t the best decision to play him against the free-flowing Gunners. Maybe Liverpool should fight fire with fire and go with their front-footed looking strategy from last night.
Although the Reds did look much more secure last night, we’d say the smart money is on a return to the norm on Sunday.
That would mean a return for Fabinho as Klopp looks to spark Liverpool’s Premier League campaign into life. But hopefully the time on the bench let Liverpool’s No.3 know that he needs to raise his game if he’s to keep on getting into the side.