Fabinho’s reported contract extension, as per The Guardian, cannot come soon enough.
The Brazilian has been nothing shy of mesmerising with his recent performances at the heart of the Liverpool defence.
The warning signs were there when news broke that the English champions could be without Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez for the remainder of the season. How would Liverpool cope?
Fabinho deserves immense credit in Liverpool’s ability to not just survive, but to thrive in the absence of key personnel.
In the nine league matches the Reds have been without the irreplaceable Van Dijk, they have won six, lost none, scored 23 times and conceded on just six occasions.
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Much of this has solely been down to the influence of Fabinho, who has galvanised a back-four that is without two of the manager’s first-choice centre-backs.
Against Crystal Palace, he continued to dazzle and was utterly imperious at the heart of Liverpool’s defensive quartet.
From a defensive standpoint, he was near-on faultless. The 27-year-old, in total, made four tackles, four interceptions and four clearances to help register the team’s fourth clean sheet in the league this season.
He was also dominant in possession, boasting a pass success rate of 95 per cent, as per WhoScored – only Gini Wijnaldum had higher.
The scoreline doesn’t do justice to just how threatening Palace were, particularly in the first half when Fabinho was constantly and perfectly placed to keep the likes of Wilfred Zaha, Eberechi Eze and Jordan Ayew at arms length.
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Fabinho’s versatility in the team makes him one of Klopp’s indispensable players, and he is someone the Reds simply cannot afford to lose.
Liverpool have conceded just once from open play in the 13 matches the former Monaco star has clocked up in defence.
It’s a fairly incredible record when you consider the fact Fabinho is only a make-shift defender and is naturally more suited in midfield.
Liverpool have never lost in the league or in Europe when Fabinho has been operating in defence.
It’s also worth noting that this impressive record has been established against some pretty formidable opponents along the way. In that run-in, Fabinho has successfully kept the likes of Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Leicester City at bay.
Fabinho’s influence at the back has been largely significant in Liverpool’s recent incredible run of form that currently sees them six points clear at the league summit.
Alongside the equally as impressive Matip, Klopp and his players have been able to thrive even in the absence of their first-choice partnership. With Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips added to the equation, Liverpool’s defensive options are continuing to grow in stature.
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