Fabinho has admitted he wants to return to his usual midfield duties ‘as soon as possible’ amid another defensive injury lay-off for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool.
The Brazil international has been nothing shy of sensational this season for Liverpool, deputising in the long-term absence of centre-back duo Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
Fabinho has started at the heart of Klopp’s defensive quartet in Liverpool’s previous seven PL matches and has remained the manager’s most durable option throughout 2020/21.
Yesterday, during the dour 1-1 draw with West Brom at Anfield, Fabinho partnered Joel Matip at the back before the Cameroonian defender suffered yet another injury problem and was replaced by Rhys Williams after the hour-mark.
Matip’s latest fitness issue represents the fourth separate occasion this term that he has picked up a short-term injury problem.
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He will likely miss Liverpool’s final match of 2020 against Newcastle United on Wednesday as a result.
With Matip set to miss the encounter at St James’ Park, Fabinho represents Klopp most trusted and experienced option at centre-back.
And although the former Monaco star has adapted effortlessly to his new role, Fabinho has indicated publicly that he intends to return to midfield once Liverpool’s injury crisis eventually eases next year.
Speaking with The Mail, he said: “He makes a real difference to the day to day in the dressing room and of course he will get his position straight back from me.
“I don’t know what the coach will do but I am sure Virgil will go straight in to the defence and I will go in to midfield. I hope that’s as soon as possible.”
Fabinho has certainly come a long way since the dark days of his early Anfield tenure that saw him patiently wait for the best part of six months before laying down a marker in Klopp’s first-team.
As such, it seemed at times, implausible that the 27-year-old powerhouse would reach a century of Liverpool appearances.
However, as he notched the significant landmark against the Baggies and in the midst of Matip’s latest setback, it prompted a question.
What would Liverpool do without his versatile midfield general?
Despite being firmly established as one of the best holding midfield players in world football, Fabinho has without fuss or complaint, seamlessly converted himself into a reliable and imposing centre back option for his team.
It’s just as well, Klopp is currently without all-three of his senior central defensive options and without Fabinho, Liverpool would be left relying on the likes of Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips, who collectively have registered just four PL appearances.
Whether or not Liverpool change their self-sustaining transfer model in January and look to add another viable option at the back could depend on the severity of Matip’s latest injury.
However, what remains certain and is beyond dispute this season, is the importance of Fabinho to Liverpool and Klopp. He has arguably become the club’s most indispensable player.