With the Reds getting back to winning ways in midweek, praise was rightly lavished on youngsters such as Harvey Elliott and Stefan Bajcetic for their performances. Fabio Carvalho worked hard on the night before his withdrawal, but didn’t really draw any focus or plaudits as such. It’s been a mixed season for the former Fulham youngster, which often goes with the territory when blooding younger players. However, with the landscape ever-changing at Anfield, he and the club may find themselves with a real decision to make this summer.
Having been labelled as ‘not a Jurgen Klopp player’ by Jamie Carragher at the start of the year and with the manager confirming his recent lack of minutes was a ‘sporting decision’ when asked, it’s difficult to see when Carvalho would get the minutes he’ll need at Anfield to develop. Liverpool are out of the Carabao Cup already and despite making it through to the next round against Brighton, one game here and there isn’t going to provide the top level exposure that’s needed for him to kick on.
Looking at the pecking order or any infamous depth chart as it stands, it doesn’t make the greatest of reading for the 20 year-old. Despite the injuries of Roberto Firmino, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota, Carvalho still hasn’t been able to enjoy any real minutes and those players are all slowly working their way back to fitness. With Harvey Elliott looking more at home in an attacking role, Cody Gakpo joining and the emergence of Ben Doak over the last month, there’s an argument to say the £5.5 million signing is an 8th choice option. Probably 9th based on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s recent selections.
He has netted three times for the Reds already, including a last gasp winner against Newcastle and tidy finish in the cup against Manchester City, so it’s clear to see the talent is there. The worry is for Carvalho that as well as not getting the opportunities he needs and being down the pecking order, he’s looked lightweight and seems easily dispossessed on occasions. Liverpool don’t play with the classic ten like Fulham did and even in a tactical switch, it’s unlikely he’d be the choice on Jurgen Klopp’s teamsheet.
It’s too early to say a young player with talent has no real future at Anfield, but there are pressing concerns amongst many reds as to where and how he’ll make it in the long-term. Liverpool may well be unwilling to cash in for the short-term, but dependent on what happens this summer then a potential loan move to another premier league club may suit all parties. Either way, it seems a decision may need to be made by all parties. Time will tell what that is.