Liverpool legend John Aldridge says that Reds midfielder Fabinho proved himself as the best player of 2020 ahead of the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Son Heung-min.
The Premier League enjoyed several standout performers last year, United midfielder Fernandes among them. Indeed, the Portuguese has contributed 33 goals in 30 competition appearances.
What’s more, Tottenham stars Son and Harry Kane continued their deadly partnership that is likely to make them the top flight’s most prolific duo in 2021.
But according to Aldridge, Fabinho has been better than all the rest. The Brazilian has stepped into Jurgen Klopp’s defence in the absence of Virgil van Dijk, who is going through long-term rehabilitation after a knee injury.
“There was a lot of debate over who was the best player of 2020 and Jordan Henderson got a few nominations, but I’d be tempted to select another Liverpool player for that prize,” Aldridge told the Sunday World.
“Bruno Fernandes has been superb since he arrived at Manchester United in January and the Tottenham duo of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min have been top class.
“Yet when I look at a player who has been most influential in the best team in the land, my focus falls on Liverpool’s flawless maestro, Fabinho.
“He took some time to find his feet at Liverpool, but Fabinho’s importance to Jurgen Klopp‘s side has been highlighted time and again in recent months.
“This Brazilian was fantastic in midfield in the first half of 2020 and has been a maestro at the heart of the defence since Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez picked up season-ending injuries.”
Aldridge went on to claim that Fabinho has earned a place alongside Van Dijk in the Liverpool defence.
Fabinho has proved his worth
“In fact, if all of Liverpool’s defenders were fit and available, Fabinho would probably be picked as Van Dijk’s partner ahead of everyone else and that says a lot about his performances,” he added.
“He has barely put a foot wrong since stepping into the heart of the defence and he has been a great leader to guide youngsters Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams in the last few weeks.
“It’s not easy to play in an unfamiliar position and look like the best player in that position in an instant, but Fabinho has pulled that off and he has been a revelation.
“I don’t think a Liverpool defence made up of a makeshift midfielder, the occasionally fit Joel Matip and a couple of young kids will be enough to win them the Premier League title in 2021, yet as long as Fabinho continues to perform as he has done in the last few months, anything is possible.”
Liverpool have suffered a dip in form of late, winning only two of their past six Premier League matches. They are next in action on Sunday when Manchester United visit Anfield in a crunch meeting.