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"Lovren and Matip got a tough time when Henderson was in the middle"

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

09:43 17 Sep 2019


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Virgil van Dijk and Alisson have often been credited with improving Liverpool's defensive record.

But for Damien Delaney, there is another added layer to it.

During an explanation on what 'playing out from the back' really entails, the former Crystal Palace and Ireland defender shared an interesting insight into Liverpool and the way other clubs are building from a base.

For him, the key to playing out is having an excellent No 6. In other words, the deepest midfielder is the most crucial jigsaw piece. Jordan Henderson previously took on that role for Liverpool. But it wasn't to as great an effect as he can do in his current box-to-box role. Fabinho, who is more of a natural in that No 6 position, has taken that position. Delaney feels the Reds have reaped the rewards.

"While everyone waxes lyrical about Van Dijk - and he's a fantastic player don't get me wrong - I always felt that Lovren and Matip got a tough time when Henderson was in the middle of the park," he said.

Missing Link

"Because my God he used to go missing. He'd be over on the right wing or the left wing. And that's supposed to be your No 6, your defensive player!

"Fabinho coming in has definitely helped Liverpool defensively. Not only with tackling and winning the ball back or filling passing lanes. But also an option. As a centre-back, you know he's always going to be there.

"If the goalkeeper gives you the ball, you always know that the first thing you want to do is into your No 6. Past the centre-forward and into his feet."

Delaney also explained that when he faced Liverpool with Palace whilst Henderson occupied the No 6 role, that was something they looked to exploit.

"Liverpool never played with anyone [in that role] sometimes. So when the ball turned over, and I know this because we had some great results against Liverpool, when the ball turned over, first ball was fired into the No 10 because there would be a fair chance that there would be nobody [from Liverpool] there."

You can watch that chat below:

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Crystal Palace Damien Delaney Fabinho Jordan Henderson Liverpool Premier League

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