Liverpool: Fabinho’s impressive display in Liverpool’s midweek Uefa Champions League success has left his manager Jurgen Klopp with a difficult decision to make ahead of the team’s return to domestic action at home to Cardiff on Saturday.
But, more importantly for Liverpool fans hoping to see an end to their club’s 29-year wait to be crowned champions of England again, the Brazilian’s emergence offers yet more hope that Klopp is assembling a squad capable of challenging for the Premier League trophy, with the Reds currently level on points with leaders Manchester City.
The 25-year-old, signed from Monaco in pre-season, has made a slow and stuttering start to his life in English football.
His 21-minute substitute appearance in last weekend’s victory at Huddersfield is still the only league football he has to his name this season, with Klopp appearing to have done a masterful job of integrating him carefully into his line-up.
But Fabinho’s 90-minute performance in the 4-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday suggested he is capable of playing a significant role in a versatile midfield corps that compares favourably with any in England’s top flight.
“He was very good, very good,” said Klopp of Fabinho who celebrated his 25th birthday on Tuesday.
“The present for his birthday was not that he was in the line-up, it was that we played his favourite system. He played really well and it was good to see.
“He was very aggressive and everything was there. For his first game for a while, his second start from the beginning, it was good, really good.
“It is quite impressive what people saw. It always helps a player if you play a good game — it helped us and helped him. That was the start, so let’s carry on.”
Liverpool’s last trophy success came against Cardiff, in the English League Cup final nearly seven years ago, although hopes have never been higher of ending that barren run than at present.