If someone were to tell you that Liverpool’s Fabinho hasn’t had a start for his national team since 2018 you’d be surprised. If they were to tell you the Brazil international has never started in his natural position for the five-time World Cup winners you’d be utterly bemused.
Fabinho, 26, is in the form of his life currently. The Liverpool player has emerged as one of the best defensive midfielders in world football helping the Reds in their pursuit of Premier League glory.
Since his £39 million arrival from Monaco in 2018, Fabinho has become indisposable to Liverpool’s midfield. The former Real Madrid star has been one of the standout players this season as Jurgen Klopp’s team have opened up an eight-point gap over all their title rivals.
However, despite his irresistible form, Fabinho is still being overlooked by Brazil. The former Fluminense prospect hasn’t started for the Copa America holders since October of last year. After adding the Champions League to his already lucrative CV, a player of the Brazilan’s calibre would be a shoo-in for most starting XI’s.
The fact Fabinho is behind in the pecking order to Barcelona’s Arthur and Real Madrid’s Casemiro is a little confusing considering the impact the Red’s No.3 has had in just over a year.
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Liverpool have never lost a league match in which the European Cup winner has started. Compare that with Madrid and Barcelona’s recent struggles and you wonder what more Fabinho could do to merit a start.
Despite this, Fabinho’s continued rebuff from the Brazil national team will only benefit the European champions. The weight the famous yellow shirt can bare is enough to damn even the greatest of players.
The team’s 7-1 humiliation to Germany in the 2014 World Cup looked to cripple the players and was such a damning experience that it’s hard to imagine that wounds so deep could ever truly heal.
Combine that with the competitiveness for places in a midfield that includes the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Fernandinho, Allan and Matheus Henrique and you start to wonder is Fabinho better off on the Brazil bench.
The reliance of Naby Keita for his national side Guinea meant the former RB Leipzig player was rushed ahead of injury schedule for the AFCON summer tournament and subsequent has been hindered by injuries ever since.
Fabinho’s influence for his country will never be greater than that of his club and he is quickly emerging into a Liverpool icon.
Arguably the most complete holding midfielder the Reds have had this century. If Fabinho’s admission from Brazil’s starting XI ensures the protection of one of Liverpool’s most prized assets then so be it.