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After a Slow Start, Fabinho Now Exceeds Expectation as Liverpool’s Versatile Destroyer

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The Brazilian has to be a nailed-on starter for the Champions League final. Because he’s very good. The end.

Liverpool v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It’s been a long strange trip to the Champions League final for Fabinho. The Brazilian started the season in obscurity, after what looked to be a decent pre-season, and ends it as a critical asset to the team and, certainly, a sure-thing on Jürgen Klopp’s team sheet to face Tottenham Hotspur.

Fabinho was watching last season’s final against Real Madrid, the one when things went terribly, and remembers the songs and chants and relentless support that the Liverpool supporters were producing in the stadium. He was hooked. He was a Red. He was officially announced by the club just two days later.

“At the time I knew I was coming here to Liverpool,” said Fabinho.

“I didn’t really think about where I’d fit into the team or my position, I was just watching it as a fan.

”What really captured me was the passion of the fans and I wanted Liverpool to win. Now we’re in another final and we want to win.

”This season has been excellent from a personal perspective. I’ve really been able to adapt to the style of the team and the Premier League. Collectively, as a group, I think we’ve surpassed already high expectations.”

That unholy fervor from the traveling Liverpool fans last year will absolutely be replicated in Madrid on Saturday evening. Fabinho won’t be watching on as a fan this time, though. He’ll be out there doing his thing, chopping it down and cutting it up. Probably definitely put a body on somebody. Yellow card? 70-30.

Fabinho put in a lot of hard work over the early period of the season to get to where he is today and weathered far too much criticism from doubters along the way and now he’s bossing it. That makes my wolf howl.