We’ve been here before, haven’t we? There was a time last season where we wondered whether we would discover the brilliant best of Fabinho or if this was just too big a step for the Brazilian to take upon his £40m [The Guardian] move to Anfield from Monaco.
Fast forward over a year later and there is a serious case of deja vu following a number of disjointed and uninspiring performances from the experienced Brazil international who has been a mirror-opposite of his breathtaking self earlier on in the season following an ankle injury in November.
To say Fabinho was by far the worst player on the pitch during Liverpool’ 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge would be over the top but even the heaviest of criticism for the Reds’ usually dependable impregnable midfield general wouldn’t be totally unwarranted.
After all, this is a player we labelled as the best holding midfielder in Europe earlier in the season so it’s only fair to ask the question when the standards take a dive off of a cliff.
Indeed, the player himself is not to blame for this following on from over three months on the sidelines and seeing his unwavering consistency brought to an abrupt halt following a tangling with Napoli’s Hirving Lozano that has proven to be more significant than originally feared.
This was a game where Fabinho was expected to take the mantle and lead by example when paired in a midfield trio that contained a 19-year-old and a player expected to leave the club this summer.
However, the former Monaco man was worryingly the most disjointed figure in Klopp’s midfield triumvirate. Fabinho lacked aggression and positionally was miles off the pace from the player who set the league alight earlier on in the season.
His lacklustre performance culminated in a yellow card which ultimately cost the team in the grand scheme of things as Fabinho couldn’t afford to foul Ross Barkley during the build-up for the goal and get himself sent off after gift-wrapping possession to the Englishman.
It isn’t all doom and gloom, however, as history would tell us we’ve been here before. Fabinho has showcased that given the time and trust from his manager he can deliver the goods.
The only worry for Liverpool supporters is that with the Reds’ do-or-die clash against Atletico Madrid vastly approaching, Fabinho’s brilliant best will have to return sooner rather than later.