Liverpool signing Fabinho wants to follow in Roberto Firmino's footsteps

Carl Markham 29/05/2018
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Liverpool‘s new signing Fabinho hopes to follow the example of compatriot Roberto Firmino in not only adapting quickly to life in England but taking his game to the next level.

The midfielder, who will officially join from Monaco on July 1 in a deal worth up to £43.7million, spoke extensively with his Brazil team-mate about Anfield and life on Merseyside before his move.

Fabinho admits Firmino’s raised performance levels have not gone unnoticed and he wants to follow the same path.

“I’ve been following Liverpool for a few years, in particular since Firmino arrived,” he told LFCTV.

“After he arrived here he was able to achieve higher development at this football club. Because he had success, I hope the same happens to me.

“We spoke a bit more about the infrastructure of the club, the city and we also spoke about the coaches and how they do their work so I was able to know a bit more about Liverpool through Firmino.

“I had been with him at the Brazilian national team on a few occasions. I know he’s a fantastic person, his background is from nice people.

“He is also very good for someone who comes to a new country, a new city – someone who speaks the same language.

“This will of course make the adaptation much easier.”

Fabinho could well be joined by another Brazil team-mate if, as expected manager Jurgen Klopp looks to upgrade his goalkeeper this summer.

The position has been the subject of debate since before Klopp arrived in October 2015, but Loris Karius’ mistakes in the Champions League final have intensified the scrutiny.

Klopp has an interest in Roma’s Alisson, although he could face paying a premium for a player valued at £60million, with the Italian club having been burned by last summer’s forced £38million sale of Mohamed Salah to the Reds in order to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations.

Liverpool moved quickly to get the Fabinho deal done virtually under the radar but they have no such hope if they pursue Alisson after Roma’s sporting director Monchi was moved to speak about the goalkeeper’s situation.

“In order for a player to leave, there have to be three elements in place – an offer, a yes from the club and from the player,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“As of today, we have nothing of the sort. We are happy to keep him, transfer rumours are normal at this stage.”

Karius 1

Speculation about a number of goalkeepers has increased following Karius’ high-profile errors in Kiev.

The 24-year-old German was at fault for Karim Benzema’s opener and Gareth Bale’s second goal in the 3-1 defeat, and former Reds midfielder Danny Murphy believes that will end his Liverpool career.

“I actually feel sorry for him. I really do. Nobody goes into a game wanting to make mistakes,” he told talkSPORT.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think he’ll play in a Liverpool shirt again. It’s impossible for him.

“I think (with) the magnitude of the mistakes and the enormity of the game, the supporters will struggle with him being in goal for them.

“And the continual ribbing he will get week in, week out, wherever he goes – that’s going to be huge pressure for him.

“I just can’t see him playing again. That’s not being dramatic – that’s a reality of the situation.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Fabinho offers Liverpool tactical flexibility and Mohamed Salah the chance to go full Cristiano Ronaldo

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[Photo credit: @LFC/Twitter]

Rumours of Fabinho‘s move from AS Monaco to Liverpool only broke on Monday night and two hours later, the club announced that the signing was completed.

The suddenness of the Brazilian’s arrival mirrors the impact his inclusion makes on Liverpool’s tactical variations.

You could only see the Reds operating at their optimum levels in one specific system that’s designed to play to the strengths of their front three, extracting the very best from Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. With Fabinho in the mix though, it opens the door to a plethora of tactical avenues.

Here, we run through the two most likely set-ups Jurgen Klopp could deploy next season with the current roster of players at his disposal.

4-3-3

Tried and tested: 4-3-3

Tried and tested: 4-3-3

If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. That’s the theme that advocates sticking to the current system anyway. However, with two major inclusions in Fabinho and Naby Keita, what’s been a predictable – though nevertheless effective – set-up for Liverpool, attains a higher degree of dynamism.

The thought is a scary one given that ‘dynamic’ is already one of the most popular words that comes to mind when describing the Reds’ system and style of play. The two new midfield recruits would operate ahead of captain Jordan Henderson with their substantial mobility and energy allowing the England international to focus on shielding the defence and simply spreading play.

With 13 goals and eight assists between them in domestic league competitions this past season, the duo adds plenty of creativity and a prominent goal threat from midfield.

Their proficiency from range and runs into the box will only serve to aid Liverpool’s revered attacking line.

You’ll notice that even in a three-man central midfield, neither Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain nor Giorginio Wijnaldum features in this line-up but perhaps that’s precisely the point. Liverpool’s lack of strength in depth has been an issue this past season and with players like that make their bench a far more formidable one.

Suitability: 9/10

3-4-3

New beast: 3-4-3

New beast: 3-4-3

This is where Liverpool can truly tap into Fabinho’s versatility and utilise it to morph into a very different beast whilst retaining the many threatening aspects the tried and tested 4-3-3 offers.

The Brazilian could effortlessly slot in at right wing-back in a 3-4-3 system which also capitalises on Andrew Robertson’s strengths in attack on the opposite flank. Fabinho’s presence on the right also means Salah can put tracking back out of his mind completely, direct all his efforts towards goal-scoring and essentially go full Cristiano Ronaldo.

Keita’s industrious nature makes a two-man central midfield of him and Henderson feasible while keeping the fearsome front three intact.

Where it could get really interesting is playing Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right side of a back three. The 19-year-old has featured at right-back enough to be more than competent at protecting the space in behind Fabinho. Meanwhile, being a midfielder by trade, the youngster could also be entrusted with stepping out from the back with the ball.

A role akin to the one Gareth Southgate has bestowed upon Kyle Walker for England bears the closest resemblance where the Manchester City man operates as an auxiliary central midfielder in possession.

Not only would this help the Anfield outfit enjoy a greater share of possession but also allow Keita to bomb forward with more freedom and join the attack in the knowledge that Alexander-Arnold can sit alongside Henderson in his stead.

Suitability: 8/10

MORE ADDITIONS

Of course, Liverpool’s summer spending is unlikely to end here. Nabil Fekir and Alisson Becker in particular continue to be strongly linked with a switch to Anfield.

Keeping that in mind, we’ve also looked at how Klopp could line up his troops should he land his summer targets.

Fekir’s inclusion serves up a few interesting options and can be found here.

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How Liverpool could line up next season with Nabil Fekir joining Fabinho and Naby Keita

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Liverpool have moved swiftly to wrap up the signing of Fabinho from AS Monaco.

With Naby Keita also set to join the squad ahead of next season, their midfield is already shaping up well and they may not stop there.

Nabil Fekir has been heavily linked with a switch to Anfield of late and the Lyon skipper would bring a new dimension to Jurgen Klopp’s set-up.

Here, we run through how Liverpool could set up next season should they land their summer targets, including Alisson Becker in goal.

4-3-3

Top heavy: 4-3-3

Top heavy: 4-3-3

An all-new midfield spells one thing for Liverpool and that’s goals. The Reds are already difficult to live with as an attacking force, and this system may just render the task impossible and ultimately futile. An all-action double pivot of Fabinho and Keita would compete with any opposition in the middle of the park and pose a serious goal threat as well.

It’s only really worth playing Fekir if he can be accommodated in the number 10 role and this formation does just that. Playing at the tip of a three-man central midfield, the Frenchman should be in his element. Not only does he have the protection of the two midfielders behind him but a vibrant front three should provide him with a plethora of forward runs to hit with his slide-rule passes.

The concern of course is him and Roberto Firmino occupying the same space but given the Brazilian’s intelligence and link-up play, the duo may prove to be more interchangeable – Fekir is deadly in front of goal as well – than in each other’s way.

4-3-1-2

Front two: 4-3-1-2

Front two: 4-3-1-2

Liverpool fans will recognise this formation as the one that defeated them in the Champions League final. Real Madrid have often deployed a 4-3-1-2 system with Isco operating in a role Fekir would relish, behind the front two.

Wait, front ‘two’? Yes, that means disbanding the three amigos with Sadio Mane the most likely to drop out. Firmino’s movement and link-up play would have him play the Karim Benzema role with Salah focused on making runs off him and attacking the space in behind the defence, much like Cristiano Ronaldo would.

Klopp could opt for this set-up either in an attempt to gain more control in midfield as Jordan Henderson, Keita and Fabinho would all feature or simply to adapt in the event of Salah, Mane or Firmino being rested or missing out through injury or suspension.

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