Fabinho has revealed that he attempted to convince Sadio Mane to stay at Liverpool, but is confident Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz can help them move on.
It has been a transformative six months for the Reds with the winter arrival of Diaz, the summer sale of Mane and the club-record signing of Nunez.
They head into the campaign with a new-look attack, though a contract extension for Mohamed Salah ensures that one of the long-standing front three will remain a key fixture for years to come.
But those within the squad had hoped that Mane would reject interest from Bayern Munich and instead commit to Liverpool, too.
Speaking to The Athletic‘s James Pearce, Fabinho has explained how he tried to persuade the No. 10 that his future remained on Merseyside, with hopes of more domestic and European silverware.
“At the end of the season, I spoke a lot with Sadio. He told me about the situation that he could leave,” he said.
“I was always saying to him: ‘Come on Sadio, stay here. You can win the Premier League and the Champions League right here, don’t leave’.
“But I think he had already made his mind up. We had to respect that.
“Sadio had a really good story in a Liverpool shirt. He played for six years here and during that time he won everything you can win and he decided that he wanted a new challenge. That’s OK.
“After the parade in Liverpool, everyone said goodbye to him. We knew there was a good chance he would be leaving.
“I always kept some hope that he would still stay but then it was all confirmed.”
Fabinho‘s words shed some light on the workings of a transfer behind the scenes, with the Brazilian still hopeful that Mane would turn down Bayern up until it become official.
But neither he nor his Liverpool team-mates are dwelling on the loss, with there a confidence that others can now “step up,” including Diaz and Nunez.
“Losing Sadio is a big loss. He was one of our best players but it’s something that we can’t change,” he admitted.
“We have to deal with it. Now other players have to step up and take on greater responsibility.”
Fabinho added: “Darwin may need a bit of time to adapt, let’s see, but a player like him can really change a team.
“He’s a proper No. 9. He’s a goalscorer. He scored in both games against us in the Champions League. We know how good he is.
“Even though we lost Sadio, I still believe that we can fight for everything. The team is still really strong.
“For a long time it was always Sadio on the left side. But we have Luis on the left side and we saw how well he played in the second half of last season.
“Luis will become increasingly important.”