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Liverpool has been linked to moves by various defenders in the January transfer window. However, Jurgen Klopp may not need to stick his toe in the market if both Joel Matip and Fabinho maintain their form and fitness.
The two have developed a fairly strong relationship in recent games and both senior players have escalated following injuries to first-choice center-backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
Matip initially developed a strong association with Van Dijk at Liverpool’s second place in 2018/19, but injuries and poor form saw Gomez take his place in the starting lineup last season.
Even this season he fell further down the hierarchical order. Fabinho started defensively against Chelsea in the second game of Liverpool’s campaign and did very well to keep a spirited Timo Werner at bay. He wasn’t called up on defense until Gomez’s injury in the loss to Aston Villa. We all know how that was …
A defeat as strong as 7-2 meant Liverpool quickly returned to Earth, but Fabinho has been confident in the last four ever since.
Since returning from a hamstring injury, he has had three clean sheets alongside Matip, against Leicester, Ajax and Wolves. He has stood his ground on defense and helped guide Neco Williams through games in the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold.
It seems that the Brazilian is also enjoying his new role. “It has become more and more natural. I already have some games in this position and some movements are becoming more automatic,” he said earlier this season, as quoted by Daily mail.
“In terms of positioning, I’m getting better and better. Sometimes it’s little things like a second ball, pressure movement and reaction, things that help the midfielders. It’s something that I know I have to improve.”
Fabinho also believes that playing defense has made him more vocal on the field and forced him to show leadership in Van Dijk’s absence.
“This communication and leadership is mainly noticeable when [Van Dijk] He is not in the field, “he added.” We have other communicative players, like Henderson and Milner, but the coach spoke to the bottom line and said we had to learn. “
If Liverpool can keep Matip and Fabinho in shape throughout the season, Klopp will be more than happy under the circumstances. He also has Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips at his disposal, who have proven to be talented enough as backup backups.
A new defender would be forced to settle for a bench spot when Van Dijk and Gómez are back in shape, and even then he could be behind Matip and Fabinho in the hierarchical order of centrals.
It is true that a winning formula is not changed, and bringing another central in January would be a very risky strategy. It would be best to wait until the summer and reassess the situation then.