If Liverpool are to maintain, or even extend, their six-point lead over defending champions Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, Fabinho can be expected to be particularly vital. The £43.7m signing from Ligue 1 Monaco has consistently excelled after an unconvincing start to his career in English football, and has been one of their most influential figures in them remaining unbeaten in the league from their opening 11 fixtures of 2019/20.
Virgil van Dijk may be considered the world’s finest defender but Jürgen Klopp’s back four is yet to rediscover the resilience that inspired them to win the 2018/19 Champions League, making Fabinho increasingly important. Against the threats posed by Kevin De Bruyne and his in-form City teammates – who are as certain to aggressively press Fabinho as they are to be a threat on the counter and attack into half-spaces in the pursuit of cutbacks and crosses into the penalty area – there is little question the Brazilian will have to be particularly alert.
Liverpool are in possession of their finest defensive midfielder since the once-great Javier Mascherano. He narrowly missed out on winning the title in 2008/09; if over the coming months they avoid further heartbreak, Fabinho will likely be remembered even more fondly.