It came as a surprise when Liverpool officially announced Fabinho’s arrival from AS Monaco last summer. Just days had passed since the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid and Klopp had secured the first transfer that would propel the Reds to glory a season later. Fabinho was followed by Xherdan Shaqiri and Alisson and Naby Keita, who had been signed the previous summer but was just joining up.
There were expectations that Fabinho would be the elite defensive midfielder that Liverpool supporters had been begging the club to find since the halcyon days of Lucas Leiva. Now, here in the present day, we know that Fabinho is the DM of our dreams but back in the early months of the campaign, the Brazilian was mostly absent from regular action.
Jürgen Klopp was taking his time with Fabinho while the player settled into life at Liverpool. Then that patience and the players desire to excel in the manager’s system coagulated in Fabinho’s soul and turned him into the Great Enforcer and that’s the story of how Fabinho Day started.
“Even when I wasn’t playing, I already knew I had to work hard because I knew if I played a few games on the trot, I could become an important player for the team,” Fabinho said.
“I think I’ve shown that and it’s also something I wanted – to have more responsibility in the team, to keep improving as a player. I’ve always aspired to that, and the manager trusts me more.
“I finished last season strongly, I nearly always played. We cannot become complacent, we must keep wanting more, and that’s what I try to do.”
Fabinho’s road to the first team should be seen as inspiration for new players. Klopp’s training methods are not the norm across Europe and new players should be prepared for a period of adjustment when they sign for Liverpool. But new recruits will also be aware that the manager takes the pressure off of them to be incredible from the start. Klopp hears the criticisms from the outside world and bats them aside.
“I knew that the move would require me to adapt,” said Fabinho.
“To adapt to a new training method, to adapt to a new league, to adapt to a new country which is completely different from the one I was used to.
“I needed to be patient at that time but it was also a good experience. So, after a year in Liverpool, I feel I’ve adapted to the country, I like the city.
“The league is excellent, for me it’s the best in the world. So, I needed to adapt, but once you do, things become easier.”