Fabinho epitomises the confidence in the Liverpool camp
Midfielder Fabinho is the perfect embodiment of the current confidence levels within Liverpool’s squad on the one year anniversary of their last home defeat.
Exactly 12 months ago Jurgen Klopp’s side lost to Fulham, their sixth successive home defeat of an injury-ravaged unsuccessful Premier League title defence.
They have not lost at Anfield in 28 subsequent matches – and have beaten only three times anywhere since then – and the first leg of an unprecedented quadruple has already been secured.
Wow! 👀— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) February 27, 2022
In winning the Carabao Cup at Wembley eight days ago Fabinho displayed the sort of impudence which was distinctly lacking last March with a cheeky dinked penalty in a shoot-out they won 11-10.
“The day before, I tried to do a Panenka. It was just me and Luis Diaz, with no goalkeeper in the goal,” said the Brazil international ahead of the Champions League last-16 second leg visit of Inter Milan.
“I told him ‘tomorrow if it goes to pens, I will shoot it like this’. He didn’t believe me but when I was walking to the box to take the penalty, it was in my mind to shoot a Panenka. It worked.
“When you shoot a penalty like this, you know that if you miss, when you come back to the dressing room everyone will kill you.
“But it was in my mind that I would take it like this, and that I could do it.”
In addition to that Fabinho has recently added goals to his game, with his six this season more than double what he had managed in his three previous seasons.
Part of that is due to Klopp’s tactical switch at set-pieces and he realistically thinks he can get to 10 before the end of the campaign.
“I was always the last man to stop the counter-attack. Now the coach gave me more confidence and put me more in the box and I am scoring goals,” he added.
“It’s good for me and for the team as well. I didn’t think too much about targets but if I can score 10, it would be very good for a defensive midfielder.
“The team scores a lot of goals and when a team scores a lot of goals players like me and other defenders really have a chance to score as well.”
Fabinho’s return to midfield, having had to drop back into defence after their three senior centre-backs all had their seasons prematurely ended, has helped the team flourish again.
The reassurance he gives as the defensive pivot allows full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson to push forward and contribute to the attack.
Alexander-Arnold registered a career-best 16th assist of the season in Saturday’s win over West Ham and his team-mate believes the England international will go on to become one of the greatest right-backs the world has seen.
“Trent is really important for us. Not just with the assists but in the game, when he has the ball he is really important,” said Fabinho.
“Sometimes we think he doesn’t have a solution and he always finds an important pass and, of course, in the last part of the pitch he can always change the game.
“When I see Trent play, it is really hard to find a right-back who plays like this, who looks more like a number eight or a number 10 than a right-back.
The best return of his career to date 😍— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 6, 2022
“But I hope he will continue playing at a high level because he can be one of the best right-backs in history, maybe the best.”
Liverpool hold a 2-0 lead from the first leg but Klopp is taking nothing for granted against the Serie A champions.
“They don’t come here as tourists, I know that they want to chase the game – that’s what we want to do because we are not a team who defends results,” he said.
“We want to attack the game again and let’s see what we can get from it.”
Inter have been fined £16,500 for the lighting of fireworks and blocking of public passageways in the first leg encounter, while Liverpool were warned for an “unauthorised cool down” after the match.
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