Fabinho has been a shadow of his world-class best throughout the season, a drop-off that has Jurgen Klopp mystified, but he has looked “much better” after his recent return to the XI.
Liverpool’s lighthouse, once integral to the side’s success, has found his capacity to be the beacon of light waning in a dramatic drop off that few, if any, saw coming.
The calm in the storm, Fabinho‘s inspector gadget legs have long helped the Reds get out of trouble but we’ve seen more careless fouls from the Brazilian than world-class interventions.
Stefan Bajcetic put the 29-year-old on notice and kept him out of the side for three games before Klopp deployed them together over the last three fixtures.
“It took a while but I think Fabinho is completely different to what we saw four or five weeks ago, we have to keep that going now,” Klopp said of his No. 3.
“[Playing at] 80 percent, he was not at all the problem in the game. He looks much better.
“But he had to play a lot, so now immediately again is back and now boom, play on.
“We don’t have plenty of sixes, Stefan and Hendo can play it but when Fabinho is at its best, it’s really important to have him there because he used to sort and sorts a lot of situations for us.
“That was, I think, really fine in the last three games.
“Did Fabinho come back from an injury? No. It just can happen, a drop of form. Nobody expected it and you look at it and think, ‘okay, that’s interesting to watch.’
“But everything needs time in a business where there is no time. That’s the problem.
“In the good moments, nobody thinks about these kinds of things, everything is just clicking flying.”
The question surrounding Fabinho, though, will be if time is the answer to rediscover his mojo or if that his legs have gone after playing 202 of 261 (77.4 percent) of Liverpool’s games since arriving in 2018.