Fabinho was a tremendous part of our midfield in the first part of this season.
The no.3 was ever-present as our anchorman, clearing up danger with aplomb and passing the ball quickly into the final third.
In fact, when he picked up his injury, there was a worry from Liverpool fans that our title challenge would be over – such was his importance to the team.
Thankfully however, Jordan Henderson filled in at the base of midfield and put in a number of spectacular performances – and the skipper is now the favourite for the PFA Player of the Year award as a result.
Upon Fab’s return, he’s struggled to have the same impact. His mistake against Chelsea was costly, but we’re not judging him on one pass – but a number of games.
James Pearce of the Athletic has explained his thoughts on the situation, too.
“Yes, he concerns me,” he said. “He was outstanding in the first half of this season and the drop off in his performances since then has been stark. He just hasn’t looked like the same player since he returned to action in late January after two months out with ankle ligament damage. He’s usually so good at spotting danger and dealing with it – he’s Liverpool’s defensive shield. He’s also important in terms of starting attacks with his range of passing. But for whatever reason, he’s making a lot of careless mistakes and his confidence appears to have been dented.”
The reality is Fab’s injury was his first at the club and actually his first proper one in many years. He’s a player whose been able to pride himself on his fitness and physicality throughout his career, so perhaps he’s found a return to maximum health and robust English football tougher than anticipated.
So what fixes this? Games, in reality. He needs to find rhythm and confidence to trust his body to do what it was doing before Christmas.
Thankfully, the Premier League title is all but wrapped up – so he actually has the time domestically to get back in shape. Hopefully the home tie v Atletico Madrid may be a catalyst for an improvement, however.