Former Liverpool left-back Jose Enrique has criticised the decision to sign Ben Davies from Preston in the January transfer window.
The Reds have had injuries in defence this season, with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all missing large chunks of the campaign and majorly hurting their title defence.
It’s too late now as Liverpool are surely out of the race, and Enrique clearly wasn’t impressed with his former club’s decision when it came to strengthening in defence.
The Spaniard, writing in a column for Empire of the Kop, admits he hasn’t seen Davies play and believes Liverpool need to be aiming higher if they want to challenge for trophies.
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“At the start of January, Liverpool were in a good position to still fight for the title,” he said. “We got two players, one on loan and one from the Championship on deadline day. But I’ve never seen Davies play… The best moment for him to play is now – with five centre-backs injured – but he hasn’t had a minute!
“Perhaps Klopp has seen something in training and doesn’t think he’s up to it yet… When Phillips still plays ahead of him, you have to ask, ‘Why did we sign him?’
“I want to see Davies, but for me, a side like Liverpool shouldn’t be signing Championship players when you think about the level the team wants to be fighting at. Still, we need to see him, to see if he’s good or not…
“When we signed players like this when I was at the club, you understood – as we were always fighting for top four – but this Liverpool should be a team fighting for titles. I don’t know what is going on financially, but I really believe we should have spent money on a world-class centre-back in January. Then maybe we could have still been fighting for the title.”
Enrique also stated his belief that midfielder Fabinho should continue to play at centre-back after impressing in that new role this season.
The Brazilian is normally a defensive midfielder but has had to fill in for the likes of Van Dijk and Matip while they’ve been out of the team, and Enrique is hugely impressed with how he’s played there.
“There’s been a lot of talk about what to do with Fabinho when he returns. 100%, I’d play him at centre-back,” he said.
“At the end of the day, Phillips and Kabak are good players – but Fabinho is a player who as soon as he puts on the shirt – he performs. Phillips and Kabak are good and could go on to be excellent if they leave the club (look at Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto) but Fabinho is an elite star on the same level as Gomez and Matip at centre-back.
“Centre-back is one of the main positions on the field. The beginning of the spine. We need a leader there like Fabinho. Kabak and Phillips are very inexperienced, so with all the pain in my heart, as I’d love him in midfield, I’d pick Fab as a centre-back!
“In holding midfield, you can still play Thiago, Gini Wijnaldum or Hendo when he’s back- so we have more options. With Kabak and Phillips in defence, and Fab at no.6, we’ll have top midfielders waiting on the bench.”