KLOPP’S LAST GAME SOUVENIR

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 11, 2023: Liverpool's Fábio Carvalho applauds the supporters after the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. Bournemouth won 1-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool fans confused by Fabio Carvalho cameo after 4-month exile

Fabio Carvalho was a day short of four months without a Premier League appearance when brought on at Bournemouth, but only played two minutes.

Liverpool were desperately seeking a late equaliser at Dean Court when, having already sent on Diogo Jota, Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson and James Milner, Jurgen Klopp turned to Carvalho.

After an embrace from the manager and some words of encouragement in the ear, the 20-year-old replaced Stefan Bajcetic with 88 minutes on the clock.

Carvalho effectively took up a midfield role and, to his credit, he demanded the ball at every opportunity, but unsurprisingly ended the 1-0 defeat having touched it only four times.

It was a strange situation, with the youngster having been rotated in and out of the squad in recent weeks as part of a peripheral group along with Curtis Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Arthur.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 25, 2023: Liverpool's substitutes Fábio Carvalho (L) and Rhys Williams (R) before the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

And it was certainly a questionable decision from Klopp, who saw fit to leave Carvalho unused throughout the 7-0 saunter over Man United the previous weekend.

Instead, the manager turned to a player whose last league appearance was a three-minute cameo in the 3-1 win over Southampton on November 12 to try and salvage a point at Bournemouth.

Liverpool fans watching on were left confused by Klopp’s approach to Carvalho, who last started in the league in the 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest on October 22

Of course, there could be more to this story, but earlier in the campaign, Carvalho was flourishing as a confident impact player, including consecutive goals against Bournemouth and Newcastle.

The late, late winner against Newcastle in August led to a run of starts, but Liverpool’s ailing form and his struggle to nail down a position has restricted him to the FA Cup and Carabao Cup since that loss at Forest.

Hopefully, with his outing on Saturday, things are on the turn for Carvalho.

But with only 12 crucial games left in the league this season – and Wednesday’s decider at Real Madrid – the opportunities could be few and far between.