Opinion: Fabinho could add a new dimension to Liverpool
When Liverpool wrapped up the signing of Fabinho from Monaco, everyone expected him to walk directly into the starting line-up, but Klopp had other ideas as Fabinho had to wait for his break.
Klopp gave him some cameo roles, but those weren't convincing enough to displace the in-form Wijnaldum. Now against Red Star Belgrade, he has shown what he is capable of.
There was a starting trouble for Fabinho against Red Star. He narrowly escaped a yellow card for his challenge on El Fardou Ben Nabouhane. But that was that, as he shifted gears and imposed his influence on the game.
The Brazilian started in a deep midfield role and excelled in that. He tackled, dropped deeper, and dictated the rhythm in Liverpool's play. The former Monaco man excelled with his tackles, and Liverpool lacked someone of that calibre. He was excellent in winning the ball back and starting attacks.
Klopp played the patient game with Fabinho as he did with Ox and Robertson. An adaptation from Ligue 1 to the English Premier League requires time, and Klopp gave him that. Klopp made an alteration to his line-up to give him more freedom, and it worked well. Even though Red Star Belgrade are the least strong team Liverpool have faced this season, Liverpool played some excellent football.
Fabinho cannot yet cement his place in the starting line-up. There are some aspects of his game he needs to improve on, but he can improve (shooting maybe). After the eras of Mascherano and Gerrard, Liverpool now has someone who can turn defence into attack.
Fabinho made 9 tackles against Red Star Belgrade and won 75 percent of his duels. To have a person who is good at tackling and winning headers in the middle of the park is a boost for The Reds. Who knows, if he keeps on improving, Liverpool could have a player who is as influencing as Kante for Chelsea.
The formation Klopp used against Red Star seems to suit the Brazilian perfectly. Along with a companion to dictate the play from the holding midfield position, Fabinho has the calibre to win you games.
Fabinho is an excellent tackler, and Liverpool has missed an excellent tackler in the past few years. A man who can win balls from the opposition, and start attacks straight away.
Klopp needs to give him more chances, as he is still adapting to the physicality of the Premier League. The evergreen Milner can be deployed with Fabinho in the holding midfielder position.
Under Milner's guidance, he could turn into the mold of midfielder Liverpool craves for. With each passing game, Liverpool's midfield is getting better and better, put Fabinho in the mix, and the midfield could be even better.
Klopp has used his budget perfectly until now. A goal Keeper, a towering center back, and now Fabinho as a perfect #6. He was brought in to replace Emre Can. So far, it looks like Fabinho is an upgrade from Emre Can.