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Liverpool’s Fabinho filling in Jordan Henderson gaps as Jurgen Klopp must ponder decision | Football | Sport


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Fabinho has taken his game to the next level at Liverpool in recent outings at a time when Jordan Henderson’s power seems to be diminishing. Jurgen Klopp has always stuck by his captain, but is it time for him to step aside?

With the wind swirling and the rain pouring down, this was the exact kind of scenario where Henderson can flourish.

Donning the Liverpool armband, the experienced midfielder would be the man that the others can turn to, someone who will do the nitty gritty and take the game by the scruff of the neck.

As it happened, the 31-year-old was the first to be taken off – failing to even reach the hour mark as Thiago Alcantara took his spot.

It was by no means a vintage Henderson display – his passing was shocking and he looked unable to cope with the intensity of Burnley’s midfield.

In fact, he completed just 50 per-cent of his passes and lost possession a total of 24 times and fans have started to pick up on his poor form.

Of course, injuries have not been kind to the England international – who missed last week’s match against Leicester and was only deemed fit enough for Sunday’s clash late on.

But the difference in control Liverpool exercised after his substitution was night and day – and it also contrasts the glowing form of Henderson’s midfield partner.

For all of those attributes that were missing from the Reds captain, Fabinho fulfilled his duties – and more – when he became his club’s match winner at Turf Moor.

It is becoming quite the habit for the Brazilian, this is his fifth goal in seven matches but this could have been the most important.

In a match that Klopp described as a “banana skin”, it was Fabinho that made sure Liverpool remains on course to continue the fight with Manchester City for the Premier League title.

Now the German coach has a tough decision on his plate – he knows he cannot afford any slip-ups with their faint hopes of toppling Pep Guardiola’s men already on the verge of evaporating.

Does that include dropping Henderson, the Liverpool captain? There were strong reports that the midfielder was prepared to leave Anfield in the summer with Atletico Madrid interested.

Instead, he signed a four year contract that will expire when he 36 – and there is some worrying evidence that his legs are starting to go already.

But while Henderson might be on the decline, Fabinho’s elevation as a growing power in the Liverpool dressing room could have come at the perfect time for Klopp.

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