FARKE: City boss on who gets the nod for Liverpool centre back duty
PUBLISHED: 17:25 14 February 2020 | UPDATED: 18:20 14 February 2020
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Daniel Farke is Ben Godfrey's biggest fan but the Norwich City head coach is also ready to protect his young centre back in Saturday's Premier League tussle against Liverpool.
Godfrey is available after a three match ban but with Christoph Zimmermann and Grant Hanley in the mix, Farke has a potential selection dilemma ahead of facing the champions-elect.
"It is just the second time this season we have three fit centre backs. It says a lot about the problems we have had," he said. "The previous game was a clean sheet win against Bournemouth.
"Ben is an option and we are delighted. It is not easy for him. The last nine weeks he has had really the one game, if you look at the fact he was injured, then he got his red card, then we had this winter break. That is not easy for a young lad.
"I don't have any doubt about Ben. When he fully fit and ready to play then he plays. He is so important for us. He is a leader and he played nearly a year without a break for us.
"But you have to be aware of the situation we are in. He has not really played since he went off injured at Leicester in the middle of December.
"The question I have to answer is is it right to bring him to the team when he is not fully in his rhythm? Particularly when we will have to defend more in this game than any other one.
"My feeling is it is important to protect the young players. We back them and we support them but if it didn't work and we bring Ben straight in I don't want people blaming him.
"I will always back Ben but there are situations where I have to protect him and this is in my mind for Liverpool."
Hanley's consistent form is also part of the equation for Farke.
"I am pretty pleased with Grant. He is in the best shape since I came here," said the City head coach, speaking at Colney. "Now he is full of confidence and in his rhythm and he is not at an age where he is running down the hill in terms of his improvement.
"His passing quality, his build up play is good and I am delighted with him. He has always been a great leader, even when he was not fit, and the Bournemouth game was a tough decision and a bit harsh on him not to be in the starting line up.
"The last few weeks he was top class, we had clean sheets and a cup win at Burnley, where he was a threat in the offence."