Danny Murphy claims £44m Liverpool player has got much worse this season
Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Danny Murphy claims £44m Liverpool player has got much worse this season

Liverpool midfielder Fabinho has endured a quite alarming dip in form this season.

That’s the view of former Reds player turned pundit Danny Murphy. Speaking as a guest on Rio Ferdinand’s FIVE podcast yesterday, Murphy said he was pleased to see so many changes in Liverpool’s line-up for their clash with Chelsea on Tuesday.

Although Fabinho was actually one who kept his place for the 0-0 draw, the pundit still singled him out all the same.

“One thing I really liked about the Chelsea game, although it wasn’t a great performance, was the fact he went ‘bam!’ six changes and gave a few of them a kick up the bum,” Murphy explained. “Because too many of them have been in their comfort zone, resting on their laurels, thinking ‘I play every week, I always have done.’ And to be fair they deserve to, they’ve been brilliant, nearly won all four last year.

“Trent [Alexander-Arnold], Virg [van Dijk], Robbo [Andy Robertson] even, the midfield, all of them, Fabinho’s fell off a cliff! Even Jordan’s [Henderson] dropped his levels and he’s the one who’s normally always out there.”

Fabinho sums up Liverpool’s difficult season

Fabinho’s regression from elite defensive midfielder to complete and utter liability has been one of the most puzzling things about Liverpool’s season.

In fact, it would even be argued that the Brazilian’s loss of form is the defining thing about the Reds woeful campaign. Without him anywhere near his best, Liverpool have been unbelievably vulnerable.

Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Throughout their successful, trophy-winning years, they knew they could rely on Fabinho. The 29-year-old has a crucial role in balancing Liverpool’s sometimes top-heavy team. The full-backs and wider midfielders knew they could push on, safe in the knowledge that Fabinho would snuff out any counter-attacks.

In the first four years following his £44m signing from Monaco he was brilliant at that. Often left alone to protect his back four, Fabinho excelled in knowing exactly where to be at all times. But this season, he couldn’t have looked further removed from that tremendous player.

With different personnel getting used to their roles further up the pitch, Liverpool have needed Fabinho more than ever. He hasn’t delivered.

It would perhaps be unfair to lay too much at the Brazil star’s door, though. He’s been played relentlessly for half a decade, and isn’t his fault Liverpool don’t have a good enough understudy. For now though, that isn’t helping the Reds. There had been some shoots of recovery of late, but the bad displays have since returned again. We’d love to see the Fab of old more consistently again. But maybe it just isn’t going to happen.

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