Fabinho has shined a spotlight on Leonardo Jardim’s important role in developing his playing career.
Initially operating as a fullback, the then Monaco boss made the critical decision to move the Liverpool man into the middle of the park.
“He was a very important coach in my career,” the Brazilian told FourFourTwo (via the club’s official website).
“My first season with him at Monaco [2014-15], I still mainly played as a full-back, but then in a few games he started pushing me into midfield.
“I remember him asking me during pre-season if I’d ever played in that position and I told him I had, so he played me there in a friendly and I was the best player on the pitch.
“Then, before the beginning of the 2016-17 season, Jardim called me for a chat and told me, ‘Listen, I’ve signed Djibril Sidibe to play in your role – from now on, I want you to play as a defensive midfielder.’”
Though a decision the No.3 didn’t initially agree with, it was one that ended up paying dividends for the Reds star, with his performances in Ligue 1 attracting the attention of the Merseysiders.
“Looking back, though, that was a life-changing moment. Jardim helped me a lot, and that season we won the Ligue 1 title and reached the Champions League semi-finals.
“I was in the form of my life and ended up moving to Liverpool as a midfielder.
“It definitely proved to be the right decision.”
It’s supremely difficult to imagine life without one of the world’s leading holding midfielders; a man so accomplished in his role it often feels as if we an extra man beyond the three operating in the middle of the park.
There’s no questioning the fact that Fabinho owes a great debt of gratitude to the Portuguese coach for how his career has ultimately panned out in Merseyside in a Champions League and Premier League-winning team.
A perfect shield for the backline and a natural instinct for snuffing out danger in the midfield have made the 28-year-old one of the first names on the teamsheet for Jurgen Klopp and we’ll be hoping to see him left many more trophies at Anfield before he calls time on his career.