John Aldridge has told Jurgen Klopp that he must start Fabinho against Manchester City at the weekend – especially if the German persists with four forwards up top.
The Premier League champions, who currently find themselves 13 points ahead of Liverpool in the table, visit Anfield on Sunday and last tasted defeat during their Community Shield clash with the ex-Dortmund boss’ side at the start of the season.
The German tactician has tweaked his side’s tactics in recent weeks and has moved away from his much-trusted 4-3-3 formation in an attempt to get the Reds’ season back on track after a far from convincing start.
The Anfield outfit travel to the Ibrox to face Rangers in the Champions League tomorrow but Aldridge has already been looking ahead to this weekend’s meeting with Pep Guardiola’s side.
“The four players upfront, and you can include Bobby in that, are all fantastic players. They can work but to make it work, you need to have a real holding midfielder in the midfield two who can get across and get the tackles in,” Aldridge wrote in his columnn for the Liverpool Echo.
“Fabinho ’s the one but he’s not been playing well this year. Can Hendo do that? He’s a creative midfielder for me, like Thiago. They’re creative. You need someone who can really defend and shield your defenders.
“It’s not ideal to have Hendo and Thiago there together because it’s not in their DNA. They can do a good job, don’t get me wrong. But their job is different to what we need when you’re going to play four front lads up.
“You need to play at least one proper defensive midfielder. Maybe two on some occasions. Fabinho has to play against City. You have to have defensive players on the pitch who can do a job.
“Klopp might have to go back, with the injury of Diaz, and revert to 4-3-3 but we’ll have to see. With Diaz out, the front three is going to be Jota, Nunez or Bobby and then Mo. They haven’t got another right-winger, the only other one is Jota who can play out there, who’s going to get you goals really. That’s where we are at the moment.
“You look at our set-up, a lot of people will say we should be playing wing-backs. We’ve got one of the best managers in the world and we’ve just got to stick behind him and trust what he says and thinks. It’s all about opinions.”
We’ve picked up just 10 points from a possible 24 this term and we need to start performing urgently – before the campaign started we had hopes of once again competing for the league title but at the moment it looks like we may not even finish in the top four.
It’s early days still, however, but with injuries to our star men continuing to come it is a concerning period for the club.
Understandably, Klopp has begun operating with four attacking players on the pitch but we now appear to look extremely frail defensively.
Fabinho, whom Alisson Becker previously labelled a ‘monster’ (as reported by the Daily Mail), has had to settle for a spot on the bench in our recent clashes with Rangers and Arsenal but with the midfield quality that Manchester City possess, you’d expect to see our No. 3 back in the starting XI.
We have to overcome our trip to Glasgow firstly before worrying about our clash with the Citizens but it will certainly be interesting to see the line-up Klopp will select on Sunday.