A year is a long time in football. Just ask Fabinho. A year to the day from his full Premier League debut at Anfield in a 4-1 win over Cardiff City, the Brazilian cemented his place as one of Jurgen Klopp’s key cogs in the machine with his dominant showing against Tottenham on Sunday. Much was made of Klopp’s decision to phase Fabinho into the side gradually following his after his £40m move from Monaco in May 2018, but that’s a decision that has more than been vindicated with the Brazilian playing a vital role as the Reds have won nine of their opening 10 Premier League matches so far this season. His showing against Tottenham once again highlighted his importance to Klopp’s set-up, showing defensive resilience as well as helping put the team on the front foot going forward. Read More
A quick look at some of the statistics from the game and two immediately emphasis what Reds’ fans have been watching with their own eyes as Fabinho continues to flourish. During the game he made 3 interceptions, more than any other on the pitch as he shielded the defence, despite Spurs’ reluctance to attack until Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah had eventually found a way past Paulo Gazzaniga. With his showing marking a year in the Liverpool first team, the 26-year-old’s performance was singled out for praise on Monday’s Blood Red podcast as the panel discussed whether he has matured into the best defensive lynchpin in world football. “He was very good. He was very, very good.” said Ian Doyle.
Fabinho showing his appreciation to the fans at the end of the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on October 27, 2019
(Image: Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
“In the second half he was one of Liverpool’s most creative players, certainly from the position he was playing. It was his pass that Danny Rose couldn’t really deal with that went to Henderson to score. “He’s just everywhere, isn’t he? I’ve asked the question, is there a better defensive midfielder in England at the moment. The obvious one is Kante, but he’s not really playing defensive midfield anymore and he doesn’t play most games, he only seems to be fit for when they play Liverpool to be honest. “Other than him it’s hard to think of anyone else and it’s also the fact that he’s not just a defensive midfielder.” Creativity is another area, perhaps surprisingly, the Brazilian is standing out.
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So far this season, he sits behind only Trent Alexander-Arnold, Sadio Mane, Salah and Andy Robertson in key passes in the Premier League. In fact, not only is he above Roberto Firmino in chance creation, but Robertson has only created one more opening that a player who’s primary role is to defend. Ian added: “Other than him it’s hard to think of anyone else and it’s also the fact that he’s not just a defensive midfielder. “You look at the player then to the player now. “We’ve known for some time that he’s amongst the first names on the teamsheet alongside Van Dijk, alongside Alisson, alongside the front three, they’re all world class players, you could even count the full-backs into that, and Fabinho has now got to be considered world class in his position.”
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Paul Gorst also added his thoughts on the importance of the Brazilian, looking ahead to Liverpool key clash with Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday 10th November: “He’s certainly growing in stature and influence by the week. “Klopp said in his pre-match press conference that he needed a little bit of time to develop as he was used to playing with two defensive midfielders at Monaco and now he’s only playing as the one, so he has to do a lot more work and slowly but surely he’s got to grips with it. “I’d be mindful to rest him against Aston Villa because he’s one booking away from a suspension and Liverpool cannot afford to not have him playing against Manchester City. I think they’d be able to get through against Villa without him. “Last season I suppose Fernandinho was the best defensive midfielder in the Premier League but I think Fabinho now is and don’t think there’s anyone else close to him to be honest in that particular position.”