Fabio Carvalho “should be playing in the Premier League” – can it be at Liverpool?

Fabio Carvalho‘s five-month loan at Hull was enough for him to become a fan favourite for more than just his attacking ability.

Carvalho’s season was a tale of two halves. By any metric, his spell at RB Leipzig was very disappointing, but he made up for it with a renaissance at Hull after Christmas.

Under manager Liam Rosenior, the Portuguese started 20 consecutive Championship matches, scoring nine goals as Hull pushed for the play-offs.

They unfortunately missed out on sixth place by three points to Norwich, but the second half of the campaign served to remind us, as well as Carvalho himself, of his talent.

Here, Barry Cooper (@bazdjcooper) from the Hull Daily Mail discusses Carvalho’s performances in the second half of the 2023/24 season.

 

After a wasted half-season at Leipzig, what did you make of Carvalho’s loan at Hull?

For the most part, he was brilliant. He gave Hull a different dimension and you could see his quality, his touch and his movement were often a level above.

He bagged nine goals, though in truth, he should have had more. Former manager Liam Rosenior would often opt to play without a striker and Carvalho would be used as the false nine.

Players like Carvalho are often a joy to watch and when he was on his game, he was no different. There were some occasions where you’d like to see him grab the game by the scruff of the neck a little bit more.

 

How would you describe his role in Rosenior’s setup?

Fabio Carvalho celebrates his first-half equaliser for Hull (Danny Lawson/PA)

He was a pivotal figure, and as I mentioned above, was mainly used in the false nine preferred by Rosenior.

He would swap and change positions with Ozan Tufan, with one going further forward and one dropping a little deeper which could be effective at times, but as a team, City did not score enough goals.

Had Liam Delap (on loan from Manchester City) not picked up a nasty knee injury prior to Fabio’s arrival, I think that would have been a partnership that could have blossomed.

Delap as the No. 9 and Fabio as the No. 10, with his ingenuity and ability to create but also get on the end of stuff.

 

What were his strengths and weaknesses?

When he was on it, he was terrific. He had the ability to take the ball in tight space and create something from nothing. His finishing ability was terrific, and like all forward players, he missed chances.

His penalty miss (saved) against Leicester was crucial, but then he showed his character shortly after by pouncing on an error and slamming in the goal.

He’s clearly a confidence player, and that came back during his spell at City, having seen it drift somewhat out in Germany, but he needs to be playing. It’s easy to forget he’s still young, he’s only 21 years of age.

 

Could you tell us anything else about Carvalho’s time at Hull from off the pitch?

2WBXEP9 Fabio Carvalho of Hull City during the Sky Bet Championship match Hull City vs Norwich City at MKM Stadium, Hull, United Kingdom, 12th January 2024 (Photo by Mark Cosgrove/News Images)

He was very well respected, a proper grafter on the training pitch and would often be the last one into the dressing room.

He integrated well and formed a strong bond with some of the players, having already been close to Jean Michael Seri and Cyrus Christie.

Despite not being able to play in the FA Cup replay at Birmingham City, Carvalho travelled with the team to support the players and even helped clean the dressing room before the journey back to East Yorkshire.

 

Can you see him coming back as a Liverpool player this season?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 9, 2022: Liverpool's Fábio Carvalho during the Football League Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Derby County FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

To have been playing for Liverpool in the Premier League and Champions League at such a young age shows what a talent he is and there’s no reason that, after a good summer, he couldn’t play some part.

Naturally, much will depend on what Liverpool do regarding incomings in that area of the pitch and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him loaned out again. But a player of his calibre should really be playing in the Premier League, even if that isn’t for the Reds.


Thanks again to Barry Cooper for his insight on Carvalho’s time at Hull. You can follow Barry on X @bazdjcooper.