Fabinho produced another highly impressive display for the Premier League champions after Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw against Burnley at Anfield on Saturday.
Liverpool supporters have had to be patient to see the Brazilian midfield maestro return to his devastating best following a lengthy injury that kept him out for a large chunk of the season.
While the wait may have been long, Fabinho has ensured that it has been more than worth it following a number of stunning auditions in his familiar defensive midfield role since the Premier League restart.
The player who has been described by Pep Ljinders as the team’s very-own ‘lighthouse’ was certainly the star of the show against Sean Dyche’s Clarets on Saturday afternoon.
Fabinho is renounced for his defensive qualities and ability to dictate the tempo of the match but his attacking prowess is something that has gone under the radar and was evident for all to see at Anfield.
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Receiving the ball on the edge of the box, Fabinho took a moment to assess his options before lofting a perfectly weighted pass towards the back post towards Andy Robertson. The ball was so inviting that the Scotsman couldn’t resist but direct his thumping header past a helpless Nick Pope to open the scoring for the Reds.
It was not just his assist or the defining pass of the match which made his performance stand out, Fabinho dominated in a number of areas.
Fabinho was a class apart in midfield and Burnley struggled to maintain the 26-year-old who completely controlled proceedings especially in the first half for Liverpool. He touched the ball 75 times.
His pass success of 92 per cent was greater than all of Liverpool’s outfield players and was only bettered by Chris Wood who completed just eight passes in comparison to Fabinho’s 63.
Most impressively, Fabinho never wasted possession and was able to complete 58 of his 63 passes. Fabinho also made more tackles (3) than any other Liverpool player and only Josh Brownhill was able to produce the same number for Burnley.
His creativity produced the only goal of the match for Liverpool and his sole attempted key pass was the only pass executed that led directly to a goal for the Reds.
Fabinho was tenacious in the tackle as well as disciplined with his positioning. He always appeared to be perfectly placed to start a Liverpool attack or disrupt a Burnley counter-press.
In the previous four matches he has started, Fabinho has produced two assists and even produced one of Liverpool’s goals of the season following his 30-yard piledriver against Crystal Palace last month.
Back to his best
Fabinho hasn’t conjured up such consistency in midfield since the early stages of this season where his displays were leading to plaudits that established the Brazilian as the best defensive midfielder in the division.
He missed nine league matches for the Reds after sustaining ligament damage back in November and upon his return in the new year, there were a number of disjointed performances from Fabinho that showcased the injury had a more lasting effect than first anticipated.
The three-month break from competitive football have only benefited Fabinho and could prove fundamental to Liverpool’s hopes of defending their league crown next season.
Liverpool have lost just two Premier League matches in which he has started. Fabinho’s influence is rarely spoken in the same regard to the likes of Alisson Becker and Virgil van Dijk, but having cost the Reds just £40 million [BBC Sport], he has proven to be one of the club’s most effective and shrewd examples of Liverpool’s outstanding recruitment policy.
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