Jurgen Klopp has hinted he will be ready to deploy Fabinho as a centre-back if necessary throughout the new season.
The Brazilian arrived at the club this summer with a bright reputation as a versatile holding midfielder capable of slotting into defence, having formerly played as a right-back.
Pre-season even saw Klopp experiment with Fabinho as a central-defender for short periods in light of Dejan Lovren’s absence and Joel Matip’s minor injury.
Klopp has since noted Fabinho as an option for the position in consideration of Ragnar Klavan’s permanent move to Serie A side Cagliari.
The Liverpool boss also confirmed a place for young centre-back Nathaniel Phillips in his first-team plans following an encouraging pre-season campaign with the senior squad.
“Dejan is still a bit injured, but we have Nat Phillips and, if we need it, then Fabinho can play the position as well, so that’s good,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com.
“We have enough players and now we need to see who is fit, who fits to which opponent the best and then we make a line-up.”
Fabinho has enjoyed a steady start to life at Liverpool, with Klopp admitting to the former Monaco man struggling for fitness.
The 24-year-old has previewed a defensive devotion rarely seen from a midfielder at the club since Lucas Leiva’s days as a starter or Javier Mascherano’s spell at the club.
Though the ability to initiate attacks is evidently within his capabilities, Liverpool’s new man clearly prides himself on an outright protection for his back four.
He is expected to be involved in Monday night’s clash with Crystal Palace having only managed a place on the bench against West Ham last week after suffering from illness and a minor muscle injury.
Ideally, Klopp would undoubtedly prefer to keep Fabinho in his preferred position, but the option is crucially there if needed.
The starting position beside Virgil van Dijk currently belongs to Joe Gomez, who will be keen to earn an extended run in the side in preparation for Lovren’s return to fitness.