Liverpool got back to their free-flowing best against Red Star Belgrade, and one incredible statistic shows why it’s all down to summer signing Fabinho.
Liverpool’s electric front three all scored in a game for the ninth time on Wednesday, and it has a lot more to do with Fabinho than some might think.
Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have not quite been firing this season, but Fabinho’s ability to play incisive passes up to the trio allowed them the freedom to do what they do best.
According to one Liverpool statistician, 31 per cent of Fabinho’s passes so far this season (the bulk of which came against Red Star) have been directly to the front three.
To put that number in perspective, 12.6 per cent of Jordan Henderson’s passes this season have gone to the front three while Georginio Wijnaldum is only slightly higher at 12.9 per cent.
Much has been made of Fabinho’s ability to break up play and stop opposition attacks, but it is this fearless forward passing that could make or break Liverpool’s attacking play this season.
Henderson tends to split opinion amongst Liverpool fans, as there are still plenty of fans who believe he has never been and will never be good enough to be the main man in the middle.
The major criticism of the 28-year-old has always been that he doesn’t look forward enough when passing, and Fabinho’s incisive deliveries on Wednesday night only highlighted this.
There is certainly room for Henderson in the right type of game, but his lack of creativity has hurt the Reds when they play against deep blocks, and he could soon be phased out entirely by the extremely impressive Brazilian.
[brid autoplay=”true” video=”310054″ player=”12034″ title=”Rafa’s Pub Facts Fake Madrid & Ross Barkley Emulates… David Ngog”]
Liverpool dropped to an average of exactly two goals per game in the Jurgen Klopp era before the clash against Red Star, as something wasn’t quite ticking for the front three.
The Reds had scored just three goals in their last five matches before Wednesday, due mainly to the fact that the build-up play was too slow, meaning the front three were receiving the ball with their back to goal in crowded areas.
Mane and Salah in particular thrive when they get the ball quickly before the opposition can organise their ranks, and Fabinho’s quick thinking could well see the return of some of the rip-roaring performances from last season.
So, Liverpool fans, how impressed were you by Fabinho on Wednesday? Is it bad news for Henderson? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…