Liverpool midfielder Fabinho says he is settled at Anfield after a difficult start to life with the Reds. The Brazilian initially struggled to hold down a first-team place following his £40m move from Monaco in 2018 but he is now a key player in the starting line up. The 25-year-old is very pleased with how things have turned out:
“I’m really happy now and hope to adapt and improve even more. I’ve been feeling very comfortable here for some time now here at the club, in the city, with my teammates, my compatriots in particular. So I’m very happy here and really satisfied with my performances on the pitch as well.”
One of the major worries with the midfielder when he first arrived in England was his lack of pace. There were question marks over whether he could keep up with the speed of the Premier League and those fears were borne out when he was given a start in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal last November. The game passed him by as he failed to pick up the pace of the game.
Just nine months later, in the fixture against Arsenal at Anfield, Fabinho looked like a different player. You only have to look at the Brazilian’s statistics in the two games to demonstrate his improvement.
In the game at the Emirates, the midfielder made 59 actions over the whole of the match, only 54% were successful. At Anfield, he made 89 actions on the ball, 80% were successful.
Fabinho made nine more recoveries in the 3-1 win last month than he did last season, and lost the ball three fewer times. He also showed more ambition on the ball, making six more long passes to teammates (71% of which were successful). He has always been consistently accurate in possession, but he is now more prepared to get involved, retrieve the ball and pass the ball forward.
His performance against Burnley last weekend led Reds legend, Jamie Carragher, to say that the Brazilian is the best player in the Premier League in his position at the moment, and it’s hard to argue with that.
Fabinho doesn’t offer the same dynamism and energy that the likes of Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum provide, but he is by far the most composed one of the three mainstays in the heart of midfield.
He will calmly and cooly recover the ball when a counterattack from an opponent seems on, while at the same time, almost always finding a teammate to set up an attack for his own team.
Fabinho possesses a mix of attributes which the other midfielders in the squad do not have, and he is now one of the first names on the teamsheet every week. His transformation in the past year has been remarkable.