Liverpool laid a marker in the Premier League title race as they beat fierce rivals Manchester United 3-1 on Sunday to return to the top of the table, courtesy two goals from substitute Xherdan Shaqiri and brilliant midfield display from Fabinho.
The Reds’ main man in the middle of the park, Fabinho was the best player on the pitch for long stretches of the game, as United had no answer for him.
Here’s a closer look at his performance.
Assists – 1
Chances created – 2
Dribbles – 3
Tackles – 1
Accurate long balls – 6
Touches – 81
Fabinho started at the base of Liverpool’s midfield, his now usual position in Jurgen Klopp’s formation. From there he ran the game as United sat off him too often, giving him time and space on the ball.
The Brazilian took advantage, picking United apart with his passing and setting up Liverpool’s opening goal. Shaqiri stole the show later, but Fabinho was one of the game’s standout players.
Fabinho has provided his first assist for Liverpool on his 13th appearance for the club across all competitions.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 16, 2018
What a pass it was. 🧭 pic.twitter.com/XK9dnGB2rA
Fabinho’s passing was masterful. The assist he delivered for Liverpool’s first goal, a beautiful little dink that invited Sadio Mane to score, was a wonderful show of talent, and he kept up that level of performance throughout the game, always finding a team-mate in dangerous positions or at the very least, keeping possession ticking over.
Defensive work rate
His defensive work, on the rare occasion he had to do any, was no less important, as he put in some robust tackles and constantly broke up play.
Before Fabinho joined Liverpool, there was speculation that Man United were interested in signing him from Monaco. On Sunday, he made them rue their transfer failure, dominating a high-intensity game to deliver Jurgen Klopp’s first Premier League win over the Red Devils.
The midfielder dictated the game like the best players in his position do, setting up the Reds’ attacks with some sharp passing, including one sublime assist. His Liverpool career got off to a slow start but he has well and truly arrived.
We’re really starting to see the best bits of Fabinho now. Dominated the centre with ease, picked good forward passes and did his usual fishhook tackles with those absurdly long legs 👏🏼— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) December 16, 2018
RATING – 8/10