Liverpool’s assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders has outlined the difficulties Fabinho had been facing amid his slow start to life on Merseyside.
The Brazilian didn’t feature for the Reds’ opening eight Premier League games of the season as Jurgen Klopp strived to ease him into a significant change in speed and intensity.
Whilst there were signs of progress from October onwards, it remained evident that the summer signing was still struggling as the sole holding midfielder at times.
Lijnders has pinpointed his natural instinct to step up in hunt of the ball as a contributing factor to him often being overrun early on in his Anfield career.
He told ESPN’s Glenn Price: “His impulse of defending forward is absolutely of the highest level. The question as a No. 6 is that you are moving more side to side than forwards.”
“Then of course you have to adapt, and then we find a good solution to change to 4-4-2. And from that moment it helped so much, and then you saw the real Fabinho. Inside the ‘organised chaos’ that we want, that we like, he is like a lighthouse.”
He added: “His timing, his vision, his calmness, it gives another dimension to our midfield player.”
Fabinho has since asserted himself as an influential figure in Klopp’s system in regards to his ability to force turnovers and subsequently trigger attacks.
A key aspect to this has been the presence of another no.6 alongside him, with Georginio Wijnaldum having demonstrated his value as added defensive cover.
The growing partnership of Fabinho and Wijnaldum is also becoming increasingly-helpful to Naby Keita in terms of granting the Guinean greater attacking freedom in his bid to find his top form at Liverpool.