When the Reds went into the 2020-21 season with midfielder stalwart Fabinho doubling as fourth-choice on the centre half depth chart, many were skeptical. However, since then—and since a season-ending injury to star Virgil van Dijk—he has impressed in the role.
And according to the player, it’s a move that Jürgen Klopp may well have been preparing for—at least on an emergency basis—since he arrived at the club in 2018. That’s because ever since his arrival on Merseyside, he’s been taking regular reps at centre half in training.
“My debut as a [centre half] was here at Liverpool,” Fabinho told Esporte Interativo. “Since then I always do some training, especially when one or two injuries occur. We never know when we will need it, but the coach has already prepared for this since my first season.
“I always tried to learn a lot from the other defenders, too. Now my companion has been Joel Matip, and the communication works very well with him and with the players around me. It’s a difficult situation about injuries, so I’ve been playing in that position lately.”
Part of the surprise at the club going into the season with Fabinho as fourth choice on the centre half depth chart was due to some of his earlier emergency outings at the position not going entirely smoothly. The work he’s put in to improve, though, has been clear.
Now, the question is less whether he’s good enough to regularly play the position for a side looking to challenge for top domestic and European honours—and more whether he and partner Matip can stay fit with both Van Dijk as well as Joe Gomez out for the season.