Liverpool’s acquisition of Fabinho at the start of the summer transfer window sent the footballing world into shock, as one of Europe’s best defensive midfielders in recent seasons made the switch from sunny Monaco to the Merseyside club.
With Tite not deeming Fabinho valuable enough to take to the World Cup, the ex-Monaco man had a whole preseason at Melwood, as he started to adapt to the English game. Because of this, many fans, including myself, assumed that the Brazilian would be one of the first names on the team sheet from the opening weekend of fixtures.
Yet here we are, four games into the season and Jürgen Klopp hasn’t given Fabinho even a sniff of first-team football. Whilst anticipation to see the Brazilian make his Liverpool debut has reached intolerable levels, this situation is something that should have been predicted.
Jürgen Klopp oversaw the purchases of both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andy Robertson before the start of last season. Liverpool’s squad was extremely thin before those transfers, with left-back being a massive problem position for the Reds.
However, the Scotsman hardly featured in the league in his first months at the club. Before December, he had only played twice, with Alberto Moreno seemingly the preferred choice. As Robertson joined Liverpool from relegated Hull City, it was not clear, to begin with, whether he was going to be Klopp’s preferred left-back or merely a squad option.
It quickly became apparent that the German wanted to gradually integrate Robertson into the first team, as the Scotland captain went on to start another 22 Premier League games that season. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain experienced a similar start to life on Merseyside, with six of his first seven appearances under Klopp coming as cameos from the bench.
Both these players played the best football of their careers after the turn of the new year, becoming fan favourites in the process. So many times, do we see new players struggle so much for their new clubs. They never match the performances that they were bought for.
Not only do the players benefit from being eased into their first team roles. With Klopp’s decision to integrate his players in slowly, it massively benefits the team as well.
As we all know, September spells the start of the gruelling campaign for clubs involved in continental football. Teams can play seven games in the space of three weeks. Therefore, rotation is absolutely necessary to maintain healthy levels of fitness. To be able to start playing your fresh, well-rested new signings in this time can only be a good thing.
Fabinho has been deemed ready enough by Klopp to feature in this challenging run of games coming up for the Reds. The next few fixtures include the likes of PSG, Spurs, and Chelsea.
Whilst it will be nothing short of a baptism of fire for the Brazilian, his superior energy levels should see him comfortably deal with this daunting set of matches. He will provide an added impetus to Liverpool, much like we saw last season from Robertson and the Ox.
Now is the perfect time for Fabinho to be brought into the fold. He is fit, settled and match-ready after his international appearance for Brazil last week. He is Klopp’s trump card and I expect him to make a big impact in the coming games.