Caislin Boyle believes that Fabinho can mirror the success that Fernandino has enjoyed with Manchester City.
Two single-named Brazilians featured in the Manchester City vs Liverpool clash this week.
One featured from the start, the other a 57th-minute substitute. Therein may be the difference, the margins that distinguish victory from defeat.
Fernandinho is widely known to be crucial to Manchester City, with his recent absence coinciding with their slump in form.
Fabinho is not yet widely known to be crucial to Liverpool, yet last night could begin to change that.
Comparisons between the players are easily made, with both occupying a similar position at the base of midfield, as well as being more creative than sometimes given credit for.
In fact, upon Fabinho signing for Liverpool, Squawka prepared a comparison matrix which demonstrated that the players possess similar virtues.
Based upon the 2017/2018 season (when Fabinho was at Monaco), the statistics make for compelling reading.
In a purely defensive sense, Fabinho ranked below Fernandinho for aerial duels won (2.48 to 2.91 average per game), just above Fernandinho for interceptions won (1.48 to 1.47), and significantly above his compatriot for tackles won (1.81 to 1.09).
This is the same Fernandinho who, last night, ranked top for tackles (4), and won possession 9 times.
So if Fabinho could trump Fernandinho in interceptions and tackles (albeit in a weaker Ligue 1), what could he have offered in this game from the start?
The answer can be partly found in his cameo, though incidentally not because of Fabinho’s defensive qualities.
It was more the manner in which the team became more symbiotic upon Fabinho’s introduction.
The switch to a 4-2-3-1 enabled Henderson and Fabinho to operate in a double pivot, increasing protection and passing outlets.
In just over 33 minutes on the pitch, Fabinho completed 33 passes.
In his 57 minutes, James Milner completed 32.
A pass per minute against a City team that pressurised intensely is no mean feat.
In a game where Liverpool actually recorded 51% possession (hugely distorting City’s 63.5% Premier League average in the process), Fabinho’s inclusion from the off would’ve been undoubtedly helpful.
Taking the above average, Fabinho could’ve conceivably recorded 90 passes during the game (higher than any of Liverpool’s midfielders managed).
Some of those passes invariably would’ve gone awry, or led to nothing.
However, an increased number of passes statistically heightens the likelihood of making a breakthrough.
Therefore, had Fabinho started, Liverpool may have created more.
These are all ifs and buts in a game where Liverpool registered only two shots fewer than City (9/7) and recorded one more on target (4/5).
Yet what those statistics show is that upon receiving the service, the Liverpool forwards were shooting on a par with their opponents.
Once again, this is no mean feat for what is arguably the hardest away day of the season.
Despite the defeat, there is much to be excited by.
While it’s clear that Fabinho should’ve started last night, Klopp should be somewhat pardoned given what Liverpool have achieved so far this season.
Despite the team defeat, Fabinho may have been the biggest individual winner on the night.
Fabinho is not quite at Fernandinho’s level in respect of importance to the team, but he is much closer than he was before kick-off.
Many of a Liverpool persuasion will be hoping that the single-named Brazilian goes onto have as stellar a career as his compatriot.
A Premier League medal in his first season would staunchly strengthen his case.