Jurgen Klopp should perhaps turn to an old trick from last season to get Fabinho back to his very best. The Brazilian hasn’t been the same since his injury.
Fabinho – and, really, Liverpool – hasn’t been the same since he returned from injury. He went off against Napoli in late November and subsequently missed the most dominant part of Liverpool’s season.
The Reds cleaned up throughout December and January, winning every game the senior side played and conceding just a couple of goals.
Fabinho’s return as a first-team fixture has coincided with a downturn, however. Liverpool have gone behind in each of their last five games, losing three, including their only Premier League defeat of the season.
Simply put, Fabinho hasn’t looked anywhere near his best. He’s been out of position, inconsistent with pretty much everything and just not sharp.
And so it might be worth looking back to last season again. That was Fabinho’s first season after joining for £39m, of course, and one that saw him benched for the first half of it.
He didn’t actually become a regular until March and when he did play, Liverpool switched system.
Fabinho hadn’t played as the sole holding midfielder before. AS Monaco used two, meaning he always had support. Liverpool, however, use one and two more mobile players either side.
Klopp didn’t appear to trust Fabinho in the Liverpool role and instead used the trick of changing formation. He played 4-2-3-1, giving Fabinho a partner until he was up to speed.
And perhaps that’s worth a go again. The Brazilian needs to refind his form and giving him some help could do that. Especially as Liverpool are set to have so many games this season where the result doesn’t really matter.
It would require some shifting about with the forwards, of course. They’re all versatile players, though, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
But allowing Fabinho the support of Jordan Henderson or Gini Wijnaldum for a few games might be exactly what he needs.