One player who has looked frustratingly off the pace for Liverpool in recent weeks has been midfield general Fabinho.
The former Monaco star who Pep Ljinders described as the Reds’ very-own ‘lighthouse’ hasn’t been his usual devestating self since returning from ligament damage last month.
Fabinho has been without a sustained run in the team since November after the Brazilian was seen left hobbling out of Anfield during Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Napoli.
While the 26-year-old has since been reinstated in the team, Fabinho’s performances haven’t been up to the same breathtaking standard he was replicating on a weekly basis earlier on in the season.
The former Real Madrid prodigy’s performance against Watford at the weekend was worryingly disjointed and Fabinho cut the figure of a player that looked in desperate need of some time off rather than someone who was looking to put his injury woes behind him.
However, Liverpool’s clash with Chelsea could be the perfect opportunity for Fabinho to continue building momentum in his pursuit to return to peak physical fitness.
While Frank Lampard is expected to name a Blues team close to full-strength, Klopp could use his trusted midfield lieutenant alongside the likes of Curtis Jones and Adam Lallana who haven’t regularly featured under the German manager this season.
The right blend of seniority and youth could allow Fabinho to rise up and produce a performance of maturity and dominance with the Reds likely to be without senior figures such as Virgil van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum whilst club-captain Jordan Henderson is unavailable through injury.
While he isn’t the loudest figure in the team, entrusting Fabinho to help ease the burden for some of the younger members of the team could give Liverpool’s No.3 new responsibilities that could potentially unlock recently unseen leadership characteristics.
Fabinho has demonstrated in his inaugural season with the Reds that he takes time to gather rhythm and momentum before he can be entrusted to deliver his usual substance and guile on a regular basis.
Although it may be tempting to give the midfield general a rest following another disappointing display at Vicarage Road at the weekend, Fabinho has proven in the past that if given appropriate time and a sustained run in the team he can be entrusted to come up with the goods.