After beating Watford 5-0 on Saturday at Vicarage Road in their latest Premier League outing, Liverpool are back in Champions League action on Tuesday evening with an away clash against Atletico Madrid.
A hat-trick from Roberto Firmino and additional goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah perfectly set up Jurgen Klopp’s side for their latest Champions League match in midweek after winning their opening two group games.
One player that wasn’t involved in the game against Watford, that we think should be in the starting XI to face Atletico is midfielder Fabinho, who is currently earning a weekly wage of £180k-per-week according to Spotrac.
The 27-year-old wasn’t in the squad to face Watford as he was involved with Brazil on international duty just a short period before the match against the Hornets, alongside Alisson Becker.
Given that Fabinho has now had time after returning from Brazil duty to get ready for the Atletico match, we feel he should be back in the team as he would presumably be fresher than the midfielders that played against Watford such as James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita.
Taking into account some of Fabinho’s numbers and it’s evident why he deserves to play.
He has managed to rack up an average of 2.5 interceptions per game and 4.5 tackles per game from the two previous Champions League outings he’s played in for Liverpool this season. On top of that, he’s won 73% of all duels he’s been involved in so he could definitely prove himself to be a tough and possibly even terrifying opponent for Atletico’s attacking players. That’s given how Diego Simeone’s side have only managed to score 11 goals in eight La Liga games so far this season.
In terms of who Fabinho could replace in the team, we feel that Klopp should take Keita out of the team given he played 90 minutes against Watford and has struggled with his fitness and numerous injuries in the past. It might be a risk to play him again in midweek, even though he played well against Watford, earning himself an overall match rating of 7.2/10 according to SofaScore.
Looking ahead to the match, whether Klopp decides to start Fabinho, who has been described as “outstanding” by the Reds manager in the past, they will definitely be looking to keep their winning streak in the Champions League going ahead of their big Premier League clash against Manchester United at the weekend.