Fabinho enjoyed a fine debut season at Liverpool but how can he improve in the 2019/20 season?
Fabinho’s debut campaign
Fabinho started slowly at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp didn’t even utilise the Brazilian until late September and that was only for a minute.
His first Premier League start wasn’t until late October. This despite Liverpool paying £39m for him the previous summer.
Once he did get going, Fabinho’s qualities were obvious. He’s physical, a fantastic tackler, and solid on the ball. But it was also clear that he struggled in a 4-3-3 where he had to hold on his own.
Fabinho was far more comfortable in a sitting two, where he had some help and didn’t need to worry about discipline so much.
He improved, however, and by the end, Liverpool were able to use him in their preferred formation as they won the Champions League.
Fabinho in 2019/20
Liverpool are European champions so things are clearly working well. But things may change next season with the number of attacking players needing games.
Rhian Brewster and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are back from injury and need games. Divock Origi will get more time, too, after his new contract. Harry Wilson may be in the squad as well, and in need of football.
The easiest way to make it work is to sacrifice solidity in midfield and, thus, put more pressure on Fabinho.
And so that may be the big ask in the 2019/20 season. Has he become comfortable enough in the holding role to perform with less help?
If he has, Liverpool’s life becomes far easier – and more attacking.