Liverpool continued their incredible defensive record with an impressive victory at Brighton on Saturday, and the performance of Fabinho could have huge impacts on the rest of the squad.
Liverpool scraped past a very well-organised Brighton side on Saturday afternoon, winning 1-0 courtesy of a Mohamed Salah penalty.
The Egyptian international was brought down by Pascal Gross before smashing home the spot kick himself, and the Reds became the first visiting team to get a clean sheet at the Amex Stadium since March.
This is even more impressive considering the injuries to several of Jurgen Klopp’s defenders, as Fabinho was forced to start at centre back alongside Virgil van Dijk.
However, the Brazilian international was so adept in his new position that he may well move ahead of Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip in the pecking order.
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Lovren picked up a hamstring injury at Wolves on Monday night, but the Croatian international has already completed his cycle of one month of good form before a catastrophic display, a display that just happened to come in the biggest game of the season.
This type of inconsistency and unreliability is the last thing Klopp needs if the Reds are going to be grinding out results down the stretch, which is why Fabinho’s calm and skilled presence at the back may actually be preferred until Joe Gomez is fit.
The 25 year-old ex-Monaco star won four aerial duels (second only to van Dijk), made five clearances and also completed 86 per cent of his passes at Brighton, and his ability to find progressive passes and stay calm under pressure is a far cry from the sometimes-manic style of Lovren.
Of course, Fabinho filling in at centre back until Gomez returns from a fractured leg opens up another spot in midfield.
Klopp usually opts for his tried and tested trio of Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum in big games, and with the impressive form of Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri there has been almost no room for Naby Keita.
The Guinean international was perhaps the summer signing fans were most excited about, but so far has been the least effective.
The 23 year-old may now get his chance to impress down the stretch, and fans will be praying he takes it.
So, Liverpool fans, with Matip back in the matchday squad on Saturday who would you start at centre back next weekend? Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below…