RETURN OF THE WINNING RED: ARE LIVERPOOL BACK?
A few weeks back, the football world was unsure what was next for Liverpool, after a horrific run of form left many questioning whether Liverpool would even finish in the top six.
However, the Reds continued their strong European form, disposing of RB Leipzig, before recording two much needed Premier League wins against Wolves and Arsenal.
The win against Arsenal being especially impressive, as Liverpool looked close to their old selves, only lacking a bit of confidence in front of goal in the first half.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, who hasn’t had the greatest season, played brilliantly and sent a statement out to England manager Gareth Southgate, who dropped him from his most recent squad.
While Diogo Jota’s magnificent form has stolen all the headlines, and quite rightly so, as the Portuguese striker established himself further into the starting 11 of Jurgen Klopp’s side with two goals against the Gunners, it has been the return of Fabinho which has started to turn Liverpool’s season around.
Fabinho has played most of this season in centre-back, a role in which he is comfortable in, but not his natural position.
There have been many games this season for Liverpool where they have lacked a holding midfielder, especially in Jordan Henderson’s absence, as he is the only man really capable of filling in for the Brazilian in the so called ‘6’ role.
Ever since Fabinho has returned to his natural role in front of the defenders, Liverpool have looked much more comfortable not only at the back, but also in their pressing as well.
Liverpool consistently harassed an unconvincing Arsenal side, who clearly felt under pressure against a team hungry to make a statement after the international break.
Having Fabinho back in midfield also allows Thiago to lose some defensive responsibility, something he has struggled with since his arrival at Anfield.
However, it would be unfair on the rest of the side to just credit Fabinho, as praise should also go to Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak, who have formed a strong defensive partnership which has allowed Liverpool to keep three consecutive clean sheets.
Phillips has developed into a no-nonsense Premier League centre back, while Kabak is starting to show everyone why he was so well regarded before his move to Merseyside.
Only three points off fourth placed West Ham, Champions League qualification has once again become a real prospect for the Reds, and if they can carry on this run of form, there is no reason that Liverpool cannot keep a hold of their top four status.
However, one thing Liverpool need to do, to prove to everyone they are well and truly back, is to win at Anfield, something they have not done in their last eight attempts.
After a trip to the Bernabau to take on Real Madrid, Klopp’s side will welcome Dean Smith’s Aston Villa team to Anfield.
We all know what happened last time Villa played Liverpool, and this should drive the Reds to exact some form of revenge and show the world that they can still pick up points at what was once their fortress.