Fabinho has put the pressure off Liverpool by naming the two favourites for the Premier League title – but believes his own side have enough strength to compete.
Liverpool won the Premier League in 2019-20 but struggled to retain the title. Not helped by injuries in key areas, they fell off the pace, eventually finishing third last season after a late resurgence. This year, they will be hoping for more, but the strength of the competition will not make it easy.
The Reds only made one summer signing in Ibrahima Konate, whereas many of their top-four rivals spent more heavily.
Manchester City paid a club-record £100m fee for Jack Grealish, Manchester United secured the services of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane, and Chelsea added Romelu Lukaku for their own record amount, as well as bringing in Saul Niguez.
Fabinho, though, thinks Liverpool can keep up with their rivals after securing long-term contracts for several of their existing key players – including himself.
“Even though Liverpool haven’t spent as much as other clubs in this window, several players have renewed their contracts, which is very important for the club,” he told ESPN Brasil in quotes that have been translated by Sport Witness.
“I was one of those players. We signed Konaté, who is an excellent defender, Harvey Elliott came back on loan, which is something important for us, [Takumi] Minamino, too.
“I believe our team is very strong. It’s the same team that won the Premier League two years ago. More experienced players, more important games in the bag. These are things that make the team stronger.
“And if you want to have a winning team, we have to keep the most important pieces and that’s what Liverpool have been doing.”
Even so, Fabinho thinks there are two teams who are the leading contenders for the title instead.
“If I look at the team, I think Manchester City are the favourites, as they’re the defending champions and still keep strengthening themselves, which is what they do every season,” he said.
“They, even being champions, winning titles, always want to reinforce, so they are favourites of the season.
“Chelsea, current Champions League champions, keep buying, too. I think these two teams come really strong, too, and are the favourites.”
Fabinho doesn’t want to be back in defence
Amid Liverpool’s injury crisis last season, Fabinho had to drop into a centre-back position after Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all spent time on the sidelines.
Individually, the Brazilian impressed there. But Liverpool as a team played better when he was back in his usual midfield role.
Fabinho hopes to have seen the back of his days in defence, simply because he wants his teammates to remain fit.
“I hope not. Not for me playing in the defence, but I hope the players don’t have the injuries they had last season. When someone is out, let it be by cards, not by injury.
“As much as the sequence of games is stronger now, the league is very intense, I hope we are prepared for that. If I need to play, I’ll play as I’ve always done. But I hope everyone is fine and we don’t need Fabinho in defence.”