Liverpool dealt a major blow with Fabinho ruled out of Spurs clash due to a ‘minor muscle issue’ as Rio Ferdinand insists champions are ‘sacrificing their season’ by not signing a new centre back this month
- Fabinho missed Liverpool’s clash at Tottenham due to a ‘minor muscle issue’
- The defensive midfielder has been a makeshift Reds centre back due to injuries
- In his absence, Joel Matip and makeshift defender Jordan Henderson started
Liverpool’s problems in the heart of their defence have continued with makeshift centre back Fabinho now out injured.
The defensive midfielder has been filling in brilliantly at centre back for the Reds with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip having missed large chunks of the season due to injuries. Van Dijk and Gomez are currently still on the sidelines.
Jurgen Klopp’s side travelled to top-four rivals Tottenham in the Premier League on Thursday night and were dealt a blow by Fabinho’s absence due to a ‘minor muscle issue’.
Fabinho was ruled out of Liverpool’s trip to Tottenham due to a ‘minor muscle issue’
Fabinho has performed brilliantly as a makeshift centre back for Liverpool this season
Joe Gomez (left) and Virgil van Dijk are two long-term injury absentees for Liverpool at present
Joel Matip (left) and Jordan Henderson started at centre back for Liverpool’s trip to Tottenham
However, the defending Premier League champions were bolstered by the return of Matip – who was selected to line up at centre-back alongside makeshift defender and captain Jordan Henderson.
This centre-back combination is the 11th different partnership Klopp has used in the top flight this season – highlighting their issues in the position.
Speaking about the 27-year-old Brazilian’s injury Klopp downplayed it pre-match: ‘He felt something and now he’s out. It’s not an intense situation but it’s how things happen.’
Following the news of Fabinho’s absence, BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand found it baffling that Liverpool haven’t addressed the issue in the January transfer market and that they are ‘sacrificing their season’ as the likes of young centre halves Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams aren’t ready.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp downplayed Fabinho’s pre-match as ‘not an intense situation’
‘We were all sat here before the programme and said that you think they would go into the market [and buy someone]. Is it the people who own the club’s decision or is it Klopp’s?’ he questioned before kick-off.
‘They’re weak in the back and now in midfield because they’re playing in defence. There’s a big void left at the back.
‘[If they don’t sign anyone] That means they want to sacrifice their season with the inexperience of Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams.’
His thoughts were echoed by Sportsmail columnist Peter Crouch who was also a pundit in the BT Sport studio on Thursday night.
Rio Ferdinand says Liverpool are ‘sacrificing their season’ if they don’t sign a centre back
Ferdinand believes the likes of Rhys Williams aren’t ready to start at centre back for the Reds
LIVERPOOL’S CENTRE BACK PAIRINGS
Jordan Henderson’s partnership with Joel Matip is Liverpool’s 11th centre-back pairing in just 20 Premier League games this season:
Van Dijk – Gomez
Van Dijk – Fabinho
Van Dijk – Matip
Gomez – Fabinho
Gomez – Phillips
Gomez – Matip
Fabinho – Matip
Fabinho – Phillips
Fabinho – Williams
Fabinho – Henderson
Henderson – Matip
‘I can’t understand why they haven’t gone in for a centre back and get a stop-gap until the big boys are back,’ he said.
‘The recruitment at Liverpool is usually so good so I’m confused why they haven’t got one.’
However, fellow pundit Jermaine Jenas took a more long-term approach to the Anfield outfit’s plight.
‘You would look at their squad and you’d think Klopp would go for a stop-gap but with two injured, I’d be happy with Fabinho and Matip filling in like City did with Ruben Dias,’ he said.
‘Maybe Liverpool have an eye on someone and they want to wait.
‘They’ve still got to find that gem in January and everyone wants them.
‘Chelsea are in the market for centre halves so it shows that everyone needs people at the back.’
Jenas’ view saw Ferdinand and Crouch quip back – stressing that Liverpool need to do business before the January transfer window shuts on Monday.
‘I’m not saying you’re going to get them now but you need a stop-gap now to fill that void. Or you play with two inexperienced defenders,’ said Ferdinand.
This viewpoint was backed up by Crouch who added: ‘It takes so much from the defenders dropping in and a stop-gap is exactly what they need.’