Having started just four Premier League games for Liverpool since arriving from Monaco in a £44m deal back in the summer, many fans have been left in the lurch regarding why the Brazilian was brought to Anfield. However, his performance in the Merseyside derby has made his position crystal clear…
In previous years, Liverpool have had some fantastic attacking players who have thrived consistently, such as Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho. However, the defence has ultimately let them down at the end of the day due to their own incompetence as well as a lack of protection.
The Reds have so often in recent years been described as a ‘Ferrari at the top end of the pitch, and a Vauxhall Corsa at the back’. With Fabinho on the pitch, however, he is the engine in a team looking more like the famous sports car than the aforementioned inferior mode of transport right now.
Against arch-rivals Everton, the former Real Madrid midfielder made six tackles and covered 11.4kms – both stats more than any of his teammates managed. He also had 99 touches and made 87 passes with a completion rate of 87.4% – it is strikingly obvious that he excels at winning the ball, and successfully laying it off to a teammate.
Every successful side in football has had a midfield destroyer such as the Brazilian international. Manchester United had Roy Keane. Arsenal had Patrick Vieira. Nowadays, Manchester City have Fernandinho and Chelsea have N’Golo Kante; apart from the departed Lucas Leiva, the Reds haven’t really had a crunching midfielder in the middle for years, but Fabinho is that and so much more.
Playmaker FC Exclusive: Jermaine Jenas reveals he would have snubbed Tottenham for Arsenal if they’d come knocking in 2005…
It is fair enough of Jurgen Klopp to bed the 25-year-old in slowly – he did the same with Andy Robertson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain last season. Liverpool have done extremely well to stay just two points off the Citizens with their secret weapon kept in reserve.
Pep Guardiola’s side should be wary on the impact Fabinho will have on the side after Christmas. A fully fit, motivated and fresh defensive midfielder keen to do the dirty work for his teammates will make the fearsome three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane even more potent.