Fabinho was utterly imperious against Chelsea at the weekend. Sadio Mane will deservedly earn the plaudits but it was the Brazilian powerhouse who was the standout performer at Stamford Bridge.
“I just told him as well I think he was Man of the Match,” said his central defensive partner Virgil van Dijk.
“To keep out a striker like [Timo] Werner and don’t let him score, overall he was outstanding.
“Everyone knows how good he is but it shows also that we need everyone. We are a bit unlucky with the injuries now but we’ll need everyone back because it’s such a long season.”
It was the perfect performance to cap off a perfect weekend following the previous few days which saw Liverpool’s transfer frenzy erupt into overdrive.
With the additions of Kostas Tsimikas, Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota now firmly secured, it represents the end of Liverpool’s transfer dealings for the summer of 2020.
There can be no complaints following such an assured and dominant performance in a fixture that was recently billed as a clash between two title rivals.
Jurgen Klopp has Fabinho – who earns £100,000-a-week according to Spotrac – to thank for his vindication in the defensive department. Even before the Chelsea game, Klopp was more than happy with what he had and his faith was rewarded after Liverpool registered their first clean sheet in six PL matches.
Fabinho, 26, was unplayable alongside Van Dijk. No Liverpool player could match his total of four tackles, four interceptions and regaining possession on 12 occasions. He also completed the most passes (87) with an accuracy of 97 per cent according to WhoScored.
Klopp vindicated once again
His influence in defence also typified Liverpool’s need for a midfield playmaker capable of dictating play and making the tempo of the game bend to his will.
Liverpool have secured the services of a player who has already scaled the highest peaks in club football and has joined the club as arguably the best on the planet in his particular position.
It’s difficult to recollect the last time there was such giddy excitement surrounding a new signing taking to the pitch in the Liverpool strip for the first time.
Rarely, does a player making his inaugural club bout for his new team look so silky in everything he does nor seem so aesthetically pleasing on the eye.
But this is no ordinary player and his second-half performance gave the rest of the league a reminder of why Liverpool are still the team to beat this season.
Thiago’s statistical output was nothing shy of extraordinary. The 75 passes he completed in the second half were the most by any player over the course of 45 minutes since such Premier League data was recorded and more than any Chelsea player managed over entire 90 minutes.
He wasn’t just passing for the sake of it either. On numerous occasions, the Spaniard would set up his body shape as if he were to execute just a standard sideways pass, only to adjust the positioning of his body frame and break between the lines with an inch-perfect pass into the forward’s feet.
The scariest aspect of Thiago’s performance was the fact that it was nowhere near his best and more rigorous tests are expected to come in the next few weeks. But as debut’s go, this was about as good as it could get.
His performance was evidence of exactly why Klopp was so desperate to sign the former Barcelona maestro all summer long. He had a lucrative new contract placed in front of him at Bayern, the club that was only weeks ago crowned undisputed kings of Europe.
Instead, he chose to embark on this new challenge, because he wanted to prove himself in a different environment under the guidance of the best footballing mind on the planet. Thiago is looking to expand on his legacy at Liverpool, and if Sunday’s performance is anything to by, he seems to be in the perfect place to do so.
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