It’s been a challenging season for Liverpool. The congested schedule, the overwhelming injury list, and the difficulties of putting on live sport in the midst of a global pandemic have all played a role in making it so, adding up to a far more testing campaign for the players and support staff than perhaps any in the past.
Despite it all, though, Liverpool are level top of the table with Tottenham as they prepare to face the London club. A lot of that is due to young players stepping up to cover for their more veteran injured teammates—and it’s also due to a more senior player who has changed position and impressed massively in his new role.
“If this season has taught us anything it is that everyone who pulls on a red shirt can play their part,” captain Jordan Henderson said in the matchday programme. “Whether that has been Caoimhin Kelleher, Neco Williams, Rhys Williams, Nat Phillips, Leighton Clarkson, Billy Koumetio or whoever, all of these boys have made a contribution.
“In a different way, similar sentiments apply to Fabinho. It might seem strange that I’m speaking of a Brazilian international in this manner but in its own way, this campaign has presented Fab with a different challenge to the one he has been used to since coming to Liverpool and he has responded to it magnificently.”
It does seem strange to call a Brazilian international and one of Liverpool’s best players a revelation, but having earned his reputation as a midfielder this season very much has been just that. The way Fabinho has not just filled in at centre half but looked dominant in the role is a big part of why the Reds are again in the title race.
“It isn’t surprising that he has reacted as positively because his skillset lends itself to playing in a number of roles,” Henderson added. “But his consistency in an unfamiliar role has been incredible. The standards he has set for himself have helped us to cope better than many had expected with the injury problems we are having.”