Falling ill during the final week of pre-season meant that Fabinho wasn’t in contention to make his Liverpool debut against West Ham on Sunday, but the 24-year-old Brazilian is back in training this week and could be in line for a start against Crystal Palace.
Even if he isn’t, though, the holding midfielder knows part of joining a new club is learning a new style of play and adjusting to his teammates, and that it can take time—though he feels as though he’s well on his way to feeling fully at home at his new home.
“It has been really good since I arrived here,” Fabinho said in an interview for the Premier League this week. “The players and the coaching staff have been brilliant. I have been able to fit in really well with the club, the training, and games we’ve played.
“When I came to Liverpool I knew competition would exist in midfield and I think it’s really good for the team. During pre-season I played alongside a variety of different players and we blended really well. So, overall, I think it’s a good thing for the team.”
It’s good for the team but, in the short-term, means not everyone will get as many minutes as they’d like—especially in a crowded midfield. Still, Fabinho was impressive in pre-season, bringing a calmness to the holding role not seen since Lucas Leiva left.
Especially against the top sides and in Europe, that will make Fabinho invaluable and should further help to improve Liverpool’s defensive record, already much improved over the past six to eight months. Playing time, then, will most certainly come.
There was no rush to get Fabinho into the lineup against West Ham, but already in pre-season there were clear signs this will be a better team with him in it than it was before he arrived—and the question now is when he makes an impact, not if.
“I think my performances have been good,” he added. “It’s a different playing style than at Monaco [but] my midfield partners have given me guidance and assistance, as have the defence. I feel I’ve adapted well.”