Jurgen Klopp insists Fabinho‘s influential form for Liverpool is “not a surprise” after his adaptation period, but the manager believes the team helps that.
Fabinho has been one of the Reds’ standout performers since he became a regular starter under Klopp, months after his £39 million arrival from AS Monaco.
The Brazilian’s absence from the side in the early stages of his Liverpool career was met with bemusement by many, but Fabinho himself has since acknowledged the importance of this spell.
Now, he is one of the first names on the teamsheet—only Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson have played more minutes this season—and is producing consistently excellent displays every week.
Questioned on Fabinho‘s role in the side’s success ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Chelsea on Sunday, Klopp said “that’s not a surprise, that’s why we signed him.”
However, he was keen to emphasise the support his No. 3 receives from his fellow midfielders, with the balance in his trio in the middle crucial, allowing Fabinho to serve as the anchor.
“He plays like he played at Monaco. But he needed time to adapt to the different rhythm and tempo in the league, that’s it,” he said.
“But in the moment when that happened, when got used to it, since then he can play like he plays because of his quality.
“Very smart footballer, very smart, and of course very skilled in all defensive things.
“These individual defensive things are really difficult to learn.
“It’s like having a sensational right foot or sensational left foot for a specific shot, or if you have the skill in one-on-one situations.
“That’s a skill and he uses that pretty well. But this alone would not make him the player that he is.
“His game intelligence is really good, and that helps all of us, but even Fabinho, playing in a midfield with two players around him who are not really involved in defending, he would look completely different as a player.
“So it’s all about, when we talk about our defensive players, how good they are, it’s because the team defends in a specific manner and that’s really important.
“If you are not alone, if you have smart boys, good boys around you, it makes life always easier, and in football especially.
“So yes, very important part of the team of course, but thank god he doesn’t have to play alone.”