Liverpool are missing two world class centre-backs in Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk.
However, it is not all doom and gloom if recent defensive performances are something to go from.
In yesterday’s 3-0 humbling of Leicester, the Liverpool defence looked compact and confident while one of the best forwards in the league, Jamie Vardy, failed to get a clear chance at goal.
This was only Liverpool’s second clean sheet in the league this season with the other game being the Reds’ 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.
The common factor in the two Premier League clean sheets? Fabinho filling in at centre half…
Fabinho has been immense at CB this season.
Liverpool have only conceded 1 goal in 6 games while the Brazilian has been filling in – and that was the contentious penalty against Sheffield United.
It’s safe to say, it isn’t the end of the world as some would have you believe.
With season-long injuries to Gomez and Van Dijk, Joel Matip will be playing at centre back for the foreseeable future also.
Granted Matip can stay fit, he will shine whenever he can play.
He has been shot for playtime as he keeps getting injured.
Back in the 18/19 season, Matip played 22 games. Last season, he played 9.
A reoccurring knee and thigh injury was/is holding the former Cameroon international back.
Back in late 2019, Matip hurt his knee which saw him miss 20+ games and since then.
He has been in and out of the squad with minor strains.
For example, Joel came in for the infamous Everton game but a little tweak during the match saw him miss four games in all competitions.
A fully fit Matip is a seriously good player.
Just this Saturday, Jurgen Klopp praised the defender on Liverpool’s website as he praised: “He is an incredible football player, it’s unbelievable how good he is… he is unlucky with injuries.”
We must look back to the 2018/19 Champions League campaign to truly understand how much quality he has.
Matip shut out one the best forwards in the world, Robert Lewandowski in the away game to Bayern.
He also looked sensational in the home fixture against Barcelona which had him defending against the likes of Messi and Suarez.
It’s safe to say Liverpool are in good hands if the two can stay fit.
The absence of Gomez and Van Dijk is not as detrimental as people think.
(Matip and Fabinho for Liverpool – image courtesy of Creative Commons License – Mehdi FARS Agency)