Jurgen Klopp has revealed summer signing Fabinho could be utilised as an auxiliary centre-half this season after he all but confirmed the departure of Ragner Klavan.
Liverpool spent close to £40m on the Brazil international just two days after their Champions League final defeat against Real Madrid and the former Monaco star was expected to slot in at the base of Klopp’s midfield.
But the 24-year-old was an unused substitute in last Sunday’s thumping 4-0 win over West Ham with Gini Wijnaldum, Naby Keita and James Milner all starring in the Liverpool engine room.
And Klopp believes the converted right-back could have a part to play in central defence as the season goes on, particularly given Klavan’s impending move to Cagliari.
Asked about Joe Gomez’s ability to play at centre-half, the German said: ‘I was never in doubt about Joe’s ability to play there. He just needed time. ‘He’s a very good football player.
He has a good understanding with Virgil. Matip is close to be back, hopefully in the squad for Monday. We have Nat Phillips and Fabinho can play there too.’ On Klavan, Klopp added: ‘No player would leave this club if I didn’t allow it. If he leaves then I’ve said yes.’
After he failed to feature last weekend, Fabinho admitted he knew he would face a battle to play in the position in which he emerged as one of the stars of Monaco’s Ligue 1 winning team two seasons ago.
‘When I came to Liverpool I knew this competition would exist in midfield and I think it’s really good for the team,’ Fabinho told Premier League Productions. ‘If anything happens to a player, there’s adequate cover.
During pre-season I played alongside a variety of different players and we blended really well. ‘So, overall, I think it’s a good thing for the team.’