Paul Merson reckons Fabio Carvalho can emulate a player Jurgen Klopp worked wonders with, and expects a positional change very shortly to remedy an area of weakness.
The 19-year-old attacker has joined Liverpool in a deal that had its roots in the January transfer window. The Reds pushed hard to land Fabio Carvalho on deadline day. A fee was agreed and a medical conducted, though time ran out before the deal could be rubberstamped.
Neither Liverpool nor Fulham saw fit to rip up the terms of their agreement. That meant Carvalho would officially move to Anfield on July 1 upon expiry of his contract for an initial £5m fee. Sticking to the terms meant a tribunal was avoided.
Liverpool have now confirmed the move via their official website with an article talking up their coup. The first line read: ‘Liverpool added the exciting talents of Fabio Carvalho to their attacking ranks in July 2022.’
Carvalho joins fellow youngster Calvin Ramsay and Uruguayan hitman, Darwin Nunez, in joining Liverpool this summer.
Nunez will make an immediate impact at centre-forward, though how quickly Carvalho will make his mark is as yet unknown. One thing is for sure, however, Carvalho will not be loaned out next season.
Pundit Paul Person reckons Carvalho won’t be a regular starter from day one. However, he does think he can take giant strides forward through working with Jurgen Klopp – as Harvey Elliott did last season.
Furthermore, Merson thinks Carvalho will be utilised further forward to begin with before eventually dropping deeper with Liverpool’s midfield apparently “on its last legs”.
Liverpool midfield’s time is near – Merson
Merson told Sportskeeda: “Fabio Carvalho is not someone who will start from week one for Liverpool, but this guy is a top talent and played a big role in Fulham’s promotion bid last season.
“Jurgen Klopp just makes players better and I personally like his eye for talent.
“He did something similar with Harvey Elliott last season and the kid was playing unreal football before his injury against Leeds United, so I expect Carvalho to play an important role for Liverpool.
“I think this is the kind of signing other managers might look at and think, ‘Why didn’t we get him?’ because he’s a fantastic talent.
“I’m not sure, but my best guess is that Carvalho will start off as an attacker before eventually being transitioned into midfield.
“You look at the likes of Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara and realise that Liverpool’s midfield is running on its last legs, so I’m sure there’s some kind of succession plan already in place.”
Fabio Carvalho, Harvey Elliott comparisons apt
Carvalho operated primarily as an attacking midfielder for Marco Silva’s Fulham last term. Unless Liverpool switch to a 4-2-3-1 formation, that is not a position Jurgen Klopp usually fields.
As such, Carvalho’s path may closely mirror that of Elliott’s.
Elliott made his name on the right wing at Craven Cottage and while on loan at Blackburn Rovers. He has deputised for Mohamed Salah in the position in the cups. Though he’s primarily featured on the edge of a three-man midfield in the Premier League.
Carvalho could follow suit, deputising in the forward line when required, but playing either side of the lone holding midfielder more frequently.
Merson’s observations about Liverpool’s midfield sound harsh, though do have some truth to them. Henderson is 32 and Thiago is 31. Depth piece James Milner is 36, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is reportedly up for sale.
Jude Bellingham is expected to be a primary transfer target in 2023. Carvalho may have already made his name in midfield by this time next summer.