Jurgen Klopp is ignoring wildcard Liverpool right-back option who can solve two problems

Trent Alexander-Arnold has come under scrutiny at Liverpool but there is one option who hasn’t been tried.

It’s been a season that has confounded almost everyone. A campaign that has perplexed for all of the wrong reasons.

After falling just two games short of an unprecedented quadruple - gleaning two trophies in the process - Liverpool were expected to again mount a four-pronged assault in 2022-23. Certainly, after sweeping Manchester City aside in the Community Shield, it appeared that way.

But as the season begins to reach a crescendo, it’s the antithesis. There’ll be no fresh silverware adorning the Anfield cabinet - and, more worryingly, there may not be a berth in the Champions League. Jurgen Klopp’s side sit just sixth in the table and have 12 games remaining to secure their spot in Europe’s elite club competition for a seventh successive year.

Plenty of Klopp’s troops have come under scrutiny throughout the campaign - from Mo Salah to Virgil van Dijk, Darwin Nunez to Jordan Henderson. Of late, it’s been Trent Alexander-Arnold who has come in for criticism

The right-back’s defensive capabilities were put under the microscope after Liverpool’s 1-0 loss to Real Madrid in the Champions League last-16 second leg. Kop icon Jamie Carragher questioned if Alexander-Arnold was the Reds’ man to play in the role if they don’t hit their zenith again - and called for competition to be brought in during the summer transfer window.

Alexander-Arnold, since breaking into Klopp’s side in 2017, has been undisputed first choice - and for good reason. There have been few, if any, better in his position. He brags a medal haul most dream about. But this term, he’s not been at his best and there hasn’t been a suitable understudy.

Calvin Ramsay may have been earmarked to be the England international’s deputy when signed from Aberdeen last summer. However, he has endured a nightmare maiden year at Anfield. The 19-year-old has made just two appearances for Liverpool - none of which have been in the Premier League. A back issue discovered during his medical put him on the sidelines at the start of the season before he was forced to undergo knee surgery last month. He's now ruled out until next term.

The versatile James Milner has primarily served as back-up to Alexander-Arnold yet midfield is his chief remit. Meanwhile, centre-back Joe Gomez has also slotted into the role on occasion.

Klopp may well look to bring in an adept number-two for Alexander-Arnold come the summer. However, one player who could ease the burden - and hasn't been tried despite it previously being his recognised position - is Fabinho.

Since signing from Monaco in 2018, the Brazil international has been Klopp's police enforcer in the middle of the park. Earning the moniker 'the lighthouse' from assistant manager Pep Lijnders, Fabinho established himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world as the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup were all won. Snuffing out danger was like second nature to him.

Yet this term, Fabinho's jettison in form has been well-documented. By both the 29-year-old and Klopp's admission, he's struggled to replicate the heights hit in previous campaigns. His troubles, like so many of the Reds’ problems, have been unexplainable.

A switch to right-back could rejuvenate Fabinho and Alexander-Arnold, though. Fabinho has featured in central defence on 22 occasions at Anfield. All but one of those outings were during 2019-20 amid a defensive crisis when Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip suffered season-ending injuries.

But during his early Monaco days, operating on the right-hand side of the rearguard was very much his responsibility. A total of 29 of his 47 appearances in 2015-16 were at right-back - and 37 of 49 games in the previous term. Even his sole outing for Real Madrid, a 6-2 defeat of Malaga in 2013, was in the berth. He grabbed an assist to boot.

Perhaps a reason for Fabinho being out of sorts is that he’s fallen into his comfort zone. While Klopp has axed him from the team on several occasions, it’s not fully remedied the issue. Moving Fabinho, however, could cause the lighthouse to again become alert in games. Functioning in a role he’s not fulfilled for several years may increase concentration levels. What’s more, it may provide Liverpool with more defensive solidity - while it could spark improvements for Fabinho when he operates in the engine room.

What’s more, it would give Alexander-Arnold a chance to have a spell out of the team if that’s what Klopp feels is necessary.

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