Bobby Firmino may get the goals up one end while Alisson stops them at the other, a third Brazilian, Fabinho, is now a key part of Liverpool’s title challenge
Fabinho joined Liverpool last summer with a weight of expectations on his shoulders. The Brazilian has already justified his price tag of 50 million euro with his strong performances for the Reds, and is an essential element in their title race against Manchester City.
Jürgen Klopp had to cope with what was at his disposal over the past few campaigns, but this season is different with the arrival of Fabinho from Monaco. Midfield is a deciding factor in any league, but Liverpool have struggled to find their own anchor who could defend just as well as he could dictate play with his creative forward passing.
Jordan Henderson has been Liverpool’s captain since Steven Gerrard’s departure, while James Milner has worked hard last season, proving his worth. But the former isn’t creative enough to control the passing plays from such a deep position, whereas the latter isn’t technical enough to operate as a holding midfielder and shield the ball under pressure.
Fabinho is not the copy of Zinedine Zidane, but he pretty much does well enough to nullify the opponent’s attacks while maintaining some sort of balance in midfield with his long range passes and diagonals as he thrives on launching Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah in counter attacks.
In addition to that, the Brazilian possesses the technical abilities that allow him to make his occasional, yet vital, forward runs to boost the attack and outnumber the opposition in key areas of the field.
Fabinho’s stats driving Liverpool forward
With around two successful tackles, one interception and one clearance per game, Fabinho has cemented himself as an irreplaceable figure in Liverpool’s midfield. The best part yet is that his strongest games have been against the likes of Manchester United, Everton, and Arsenal.
The 25-year old has started his Anfield career so well that whenever he is out of the squad ahead of an important match, Liverpool supporters are the first to complain . It is fair to say that he has quickly become a fan favorite.
The title race between Liverpool and Manchester City remains tight with little room for mistakes. Besides the quality that Fabinho has added, depth is yet another important factor. To win the English Premier League, it is essential to have alternatives for every position. Sometimes, you can be lucky enough to escape with it as City did last season without having a proper Fernandinho replacement, but this is partly because they were superior to their competitors in all other aspects, to afford this luxury.
However, the race this season is much more difficult. I will go as far as saying that Liverpool would not be top of the league, had they not made intelligent signings in the summer in general, and Fabinho specifically.
Fabinho is quickly becoming one of the best holding midfielders, not just in England, but also in the world. Winning the English Premier League might well boost his confidence and make him gain huge recognition, meaning that he would impose legitimate competition for Casemiro, ahead of the Copa América in Brazil.