Jurgen Klopp has admitted that Liverpool’s win over Everton saw Fabinho put in his best performance for a while.
The Brazilian has come under fire for some sub-par performances this season. However, he’s been a little better since the World Cup break, and was back to somewhere near his best on Monday night.
Speaking in his pre-Newcastle press conference today, Klopp said Fabinho’s display hadn’t been lost on him.
“It was for sure Fabinho’s best game for a long, long time,” said the Liverpool manager.
Having already singled out young Stefan Bajcetic for praise, Klopp went on to shout out both Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita, too.
“Hendo played exceptional. Just talking about the midfield, that helps obviously. Naby as well before, we did not win games but that was not up to Naby. We have other players ready to go as well.”
Fabinho not finished yet
It perhaps still wasn’t Fabinho at his absolute ‘lighthouse’ best, but then again, he didn’t need to be against Everton. Alongside Bajcetic and Henderson, the Reds trio comfortably won the midfield battle.
Tomorrow’s trip to Newcastle should provide Fabinho and co with a tougher challenge. Whether the 29-year-old stands up to that will give a better indication of where he’s currently at.
Without Thiago Alcantara’s injury, it’s possible that Fabinho would still be warming the bench. Bajcetic has excelled in the deeper lying position the Brazil international has made his own since 2018.
But without Thiago, Klopp stuck Fabinho back in. Alongside Bajcetic and Henderson, it had the look of the more industrial midfields that took Liverpool to the pinnacle of club football.
As Bajcetic has now proven himself adept in the ‘8’ position, this could be the way forward for Liverpool.
Being naturally defensively minded, the 18-year-old offers slightly more protection to Fabinho than perhaps Thiago can. Maybe then it’s no coincidence that Fab returned to a better version of himself vs Everton. Let’s hope he can keep building forward now. There’s life in this dog yet.
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