Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum believes they are yet to see the best of fellow midfielder Fabinho.
The Brazil international was man of the match in Sunday’s win over Manchester United in his best performance since arriving in a £43.7million deal from Monaco.
Manager Jurgen Klopp has integrated his summer signing gradually but his display at Anfield justified the decision to allow the 25-year-old time to settle – and Wijnaldum thinks the curve will continue upwards now he has found his feet.
“I think he can do even better – I think all of us can do even better,” Wijnaldum told liverpoolfc.com.
“It’s always difficult if you play for another team that didn’t play the way we play, so when you come here you have to settle in.
“That’s not always easy and I think he did it quite well. Step by step he learned more about the way of playing.”
Fabinho and Naby Keita amounted to about £100m worth of incoming talent this season but so far they have not displaced Wijnaldum, who with 22 appearances has played more than any other midfielder this season.
The Holland international has lined up alongside Fabinho on every one of his starts apart from his first in September’s EFL Cup tie against Chelsea but he is not taking his place for granted.
“It’s always good if you have competition in one position because that means you have to perform to stay in the team,” said Wijnaldum, ahead of the Friday evening trip to Wolves.
“But I think that has to be normal at a club like Liverpool because it’s a top team, one of the biggest teams in England, so Liverpool will always sign good players and that means there will always be competition in the team.
“That makes players even better – not only because you have an ‘opponent’ in your position, but also because you play and train against good team-mates.”
Fabinho admits it took him time to adjust to the demands of English football but what he was aware of, having watched on television while in France, was the competitiveness.
“The intensity is different from what I am used to (but) I’ve got into the rhythm of the team and got used to the style of play,” said the Brazilian.
“When I came here I already had an idea about how the Premier League would be, but the difference is the physically intense nature, the difficulty of every single game, whether you’re playing against a team who are at the top or the bottom. It’s always a big challenge.
“I don’t remember many games that we’ve won by a large margin, which demonstrates the competitiveness.
“Playing in it (the Premier League), you really appreciate that it is the most competitive league in the world and the hardest championship to win.”
Liverpool have the chance to extend their lead at the top over Manchester City to four points with a win at Molineux, where they have never lost in their four Premier League visits.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are on their best run of the Premier League era with 18 matches without defeat, having won the last six league matches, and have lost just three of 46 league matches (winning 32) since losing to Tottenham at Wembley in October 2017.
However, midfielder James Milner insists they will not get complacent.
“A big strength of this group is how we’ve improved over the last few years but also how we stay in the present and focus on each game,” said Milner.
“(The title) is a special achievement and one we’re obviously hoping to get to but it’s a long way to go and we’re coming up against a lot of good teams. As a group we just want to concentrate on playing as well as we can and keep on improving.”
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