Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Ozan Kabak was handed his first Liverpool start against Leicester following his impressive performances in training, while fellow January centre half recruit Ben Davies missed out through injury.
Kabak joined Liverpool on loan from Schalke on deadline day after serious, long-term injuries to first choice central defensive partnership Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk left the Reds short of options at the back. Midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho have been deputising in the heart of the Liverpool backline in the absence of Gomez and van Dijk.
Kabak was handed his first start Liverpool against Leicester in the Premier League on Saturday, partnering Henderson at centre back with Fabinho sidelined through injury.
“It was a good training week for [Ozan Kabak],” Klopp told BT Sport. “Ozan has looked really good, a good training week, an important training week.”
Davies also joined the Reds on deadline day, signing from Preston. He has settled in well to life at Anfield by emulating Liverpool‘s current crop of centre backs and getting injured. Like Fabinho, Davies missed out on a place in Liverpool’s matchday squad for the trip to the King Power.
“Ben Davies picked up a little knock in training. Unbelievable!” Klopp added.
In the build up to the Leicester clash, the Liverpool boss had sung the praises of both his new centre back additions, highlighting the pair’s positive attitude.
“They are calm people, both Ben and Ozan,’ said Klopp (via the Daily Mail). “They are willing to learn. Great attitude. They really throw themselves into everything ahead of them, which is what a defender should do. They are making big steps in adapting to the way we play. Again, that’s important.
“We have still a clear way to defend, which is important. If both of them would be on the pitch then there are still nine players used to what we have done before.”