Watch the video at the top of the article to learn why Fabinho’s midfield role has become so important for Liverpool’s Premier League title challenge.
Liverpool have been in ferocious form this season and many Koppites are looking at one man: Fabinho.
The Brazilian midfielder has cemented his status as one of Jurgen Klopp’s most important players, and continues to improve with each passing week.
This is testament to his character, as he initially struggled to find a place in Klopp’s XI during the formative stages of his Anfield career, but those teething issues have been overwhelmingly dispelled now.
During the 2017/18 season, Mohamed Salah was the Reds’ fulcrum, making up for defensive deficiencies by scoring an absurd amount of goals; last season that mantle was passed on to Virgil van Dijk and this year, Fabinho has picked up the illustrious baton.
But just what makes the former Monaco man so special? Well, for one thing, his reading of the game and technical brilliance make up for a unique marriage that places him in a rare breed of multi-functional midfielders.
He is a tempo-setter, anchorman and enforcer rolled into one elegant mass. The Brazilian can dictate, sweep and – as we’ve seen on numerous occasions – pick out a defence-splitting pass, hence the plethora of monickers that have been bestowed on him: ‘Dyson’, ‘The Lighthouse’ and ‘Inspector Gadget’ to name but three.
His trademark pass, collecting the ball centrally, before shuffling it onto his right boot and delicately lofting it over opposition defences, has become a key weapon in the Reds’ ever-expanding repertoire.
It’s one of those breathtaking eye-of-a-needle passes that few can master, but Fabinho has perfected the art, culminating in his assist for Jordan Henderson’s late winner against Spurs earlier this campaign.
Fabinho’s versatility in the middle of the park almost appears as though Liverpool are playing with an extra man, which is perhaps why they struggled against Aston Villa last week.
With one eye on this weekend’s potential season-defining showdown against Manchester City, Klopp kept Fabinho on the bench at Villa Park and, well, it took two late goals to salvage the three points.
This weekend will present a clearer picture as to whether Klopp’s decision was justified, but one thing is for certain, if Liverpool are to have any hope of keeping the chasm between themselves and City considerable, they will need Fabinho to start against Pep Guardiola’s side.