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THEN AND NOW

Fabinho underlines world class status by banishing ghost of Arsenal past

Fabinho has many nicknames on Merseyside.

El Monstro. The Lighthouse. Fabby Long Legs.

But Anfield cult heroism certainly wasn’t always inevitable for the Brazilian bruiser.


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Hydration is key

Reuters
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Hydration is key

Their win over Arsenal on Saturday – in which Fabinho was excellent again at the base of the midfield – was both emphatic and poignant.

Because just 10 months ago, on only his second Premier League start after his summer move, he was handed a chastening experience against the very same opponents at the Emirates.

“That was the night when I really understood the speed of the Premier League and the attention to detail that is required,” Fabinho admitted a few months later.

Torreira had Fabinho’s number that night

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Torreira had Fabinho’s number that night

On that November night he was harried and pressed, caught napping and generally outclassed by Lucas Torreira.

Some wrote him off there and then.

But like any strong personality instead of cowering away, Fabinho has used the game as a reference point and the beginning of a learning curve.

In nine months since, he has run proceedings against Man United, Chelsea and, of course, Barcelona… just to name a few.

See ya

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See ya

Jurgen Klopp branded his Anfield display ‘sensational’.

Every top side needs a Fabinho but his passing statistics suggest he’s far more than just a battering ram.

In 90 minutes on Saturday he boasted a 93% pass accuracy, made four key passes – including an assist for the third goal – and won six ball recoveries.

Midfield enforcer

Reuters
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Midfield enforcer

At Monaco his ability was no secret, so it’s worth a reminder that Jose Mourinho opted for Nemanja Matic instead.

Fabinho’s rising prowess has allowed Klopp to revert back to his favoured 4-3-3 system featuring just one holding midfield pivot.

That has released Jordan Henderson of his defensive duties and the England man looks a completely different animal for it.

He looks to have benefited from a full summer off after he was snubbed from the Brazilian Copa America squad.

The bad news for Liverpool is that good news travels fast – he has already earned a recall to the international frame this Autumn.

Fabinho has memorably come out on top in duels with the likes of Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard and has swiftly become a fan favourite, putting that November nightmare well behind him.

The moment he became an Anfield hero

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The moment he became an Anfield hero

After consigning him to his darkest hour, Arsenal were this time on the receiving end of his brilliance.

He’s crash bang wallop with a sprinkle of culture.

10 months on from being branded an expensive flop, Fabinho is not only Liverpool’s best midfielder, but one of the first names on the team sheet.