Liverpool’s wonderfully eloquent assistant manager Pep Lijnders has explained the virtue of Fabinho and why our no.3 is such a crucial part of our midfield.
Interestingly, in doing so, he also goes on to name the characteristics of the type of midfielder Liverpool will need to sign to replace the likely departing Gini Wijnaldum, whose contract expires in just a few months’ time.
“A proper ‘six’ just sees more. Top teams and top players like Fabinho have in common that they have a huge spirit of initiative,” the assistant manager told LiverpoolFC.com.
“That’s why when we speak about team development we are speaking indirectly about individual development – our idea forces this individual development.
“About Fabinho, I only want to say he has the capacity to make the players around him better. It’s really difficult to find players who have the talent to make the other ones flourish.
“There are just a few players in world football who have this natural capacity to stop counters, for example; most of them just tactically foul.
“He just always puts the team above himself. By the way, all our Brazilians have this characteristic. Nobody likes them, everybody loves them.”
“You get someone who is only concerned about making the team better, there is no space for ego. He is a real team player,” he continued.
“Luckily we have three of them, Gini and Hendo have this characteristic as well.
“Having two midfielders like that is like the queen in the chess game. You lose the queen, who defends in offence.
“There is a reason why the better chess players just give up when they lose the queen.
“You need two who can control a game by being dominant without the ball. That’s what we are searching for.”
It’s interesting, as if Naby Keita had perhaps adopted these selfless traits a little faster, he may have been more of a success since joining from Rb Leipzig.
Curtis Jones also notably toned down his offensive instincts and creativity earlier this term, too – which many fans actually didn’t like – but you can gather from Lijnders’ comments that it was likely direct instruction.
Gini’s exit is going to leave a big gap, and we need a physical, robust, tactically and technically astute lynchpin who can help provide a central platform.
This morning, Guido Rodriguez was linked, who has a few of these traits, but who Liverpool end up going for is anyone’s guess