I can’t remember another Liverpool player ending a season with a such a gulf of disparity between how it began and how it ended. Fabinho finished in exceptional form. Really exceptional. He was crucial to Liverpool’s solidity in the midfield and along with Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson, Fabinho became essential.
He had been kept out of the team by Jürgen Klopp in the beginning, forced to prove himself capable of performing at the level the manager and the Premier League require. Then there was talk about his quality and general grumblings over his worth. But Klopp publicly backed Fabinho and privately the player worked hard to be chosen for the team.
“Overall I think my first season at Liverpool was good,” said Fabinho. “In my first season I knew there would be a learning and settling-in period. I went through this.
”It didn’t last that long but I remember it wasn’t easy starting afresh, I was left out for a few matches.
”Even though I was telling myself that I needed to work hard and be patient, it’s not easy being out of the team. But that’s in the past now, I started playing more.
”The more you play, the more you can enjoy your football. I think I became an important part of the team, I gave the manager another option he could depend upon. So I think it was a really good season.”
The process would have been frustrating for Fabinho, more frustrating than it was for supporters. You signed for Liverpool to win something with a legendary club under the guidance of a near-legendary manager and it’s just not kicking off like you thought it would. But you buckle down.
Fabinho’s first season at Liverpool was an almighty success. And his proficiency in the team is yet another sign that Liverpool’s scouting and transfer people are doing the good work identifying players well-suited to Klopp’s footballing ethos.