Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso believes Fabinho’s greatest asset is the way he anticipates the game.
The 26-year-old has become an integral part of the Liverpool side this season and his exploits have impressed the club’s former Spanish star.
How key is Fabinho to Liverpool’s season: Five things to know…
- Fabinho joined the Reds from Monaco in summer 2018 for £39m.
- At first, he struggled to make an impact in the Premier League.
- He made 28 top-flight appearances in 2018/19.
- This season has seen him play in all but one of Liverpool’s Premier League games.
- Alonso believes the Brazilian’s anticipation is his best asset for the Reds.
It took a while, but Fabinho has slowly become a key man for Liverpool following his much-lauded move from Monaco in May 2018. The Brazil international took a long time to adjust but he has started 10 games in the Premier League for Jurgen Klopp this season.
Alonso, who spent five seasons with the Reds during his playing days, is familiar with the Brazilian after the pair shared some time together at Real Madrid when Fabinho was a teenager. Although they only played on the same field once, during a 6-2 win over Malaga, the Spaniard has been impressed with what his former teammate has achieved.
Alonso was particularly delighted with one specific facet of Fabinho’s game and revealed it is one which can decide the outcome of a match.
“He is connected to the game, always,” Alonso told the Athletic. “His anticipation, I think, is his greatest asset.
“Sometimes, you only have to take two or three steps to change the movements of your teammates and that can determine the outcome of the whole game without anyone really realising because spectators tend to follow the ball rather than the player.
“He’s not reacting one second later, he’s anticipating what is going to happen one second before.”
Fabinho netted his first goal of the season against Manchester City at Anfield earlier this month to help them beat Pep Guardiola’s side. The win put Liverpool nine points clear of City and formed an eight-point cushion over both Leicester and Chelsea, who sit second and third respectively.
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With success comes confidence
Fabinho has been on international duty with Brazil since Liverpool’s win over City and has made a positive impact on the squad since his arrival, according to current head coach Tite.
The confidence the midfielder has brought with him off the back of an impressive campaign with Liverpool has not gone unnoticed by the 58-year-old.
“Fabinho has built a positive growing. All the times he played, he played very well,” he said.
“And he brings confidence from his club to the Brazil national squad. In a natural way, and we can feel it. It’s not that you can only see it, you can feel it.
“Fabinho is playing his normal football in a role that he also has at Liverpool.”