The impact of Brazilian midfielder Fabinho on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side has drawn warm praise from one of the club’s most popular former midfielders, Xabi Alonso.
Klopp’s men took a significant step towards ending their 30-year wait to be crowned champions of England after beating Pep Guardiola’s side 3-1 at Anfield just before the international break. The result left Liverpool a huge nine points ahead of the two-time reigning Premier league champions and with no room for error as they bid to make it three titles in a row.
And while many of the headlines at Liverpool are grabbed by the likes of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and their attack-minded full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, the preferred midfield axis of Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and Fabinho often gets overlooked.
However, Fabinho is one of the first names on Klopp’s teamsheet and is widely regarded as the best holding midfielder in the Premier League after some classy displays for the Reds.
And having swept up in front of Liverpool’s defence during his time at Anfield, Klopp has compared Fabinho to a range of hoovers with an amusing nickname – and one much to the player’s amusement.
Now the player’s worth to the Reds has been underlined by former Spain star Alonso, who admits he’s a big fan of the Brazilian’s work.
“He is connected to the game, always. His anticipation is his greatest asset,” Alonso told The Athletic. “Sometimes you only have to take one or two steps to change the movements of your team-mates and that can determine the whole outcome of the game without anyone really realising because spectators tend to follow the ball rather than the player.
“He’s not reacting one second later, he’s anticipating what is going to happen one second before.”
Fabinho also drew praise from Alan Shearer who outlined to The Sun why the former Monaco man should have his name sung from the rooftops.
“Let’s hear it for the Liverpool midfield. Perhaps we should call them ‘The Fab Three’.
“This dynamic trio tend to play second fiddle to the Reds’ front line of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino when it comes to dishing out the plaudits.
“But it was the home side’s engine room which made the real difference. Fabinho, Wijnaldum and Henderson made sure that Liverpool controlled the game.
“They came up with all the answers and showed everything you want from a top-class midfield unit – productivity, protection, creativity and goals.”