Fabinho must wait at Liverpool to earn first team opportunities

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20: Fabinho of Liverpool arrives ahead of the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park on August 20, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 20: Fabinho of Liverpool arrives ahead of the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park on August 20, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) /
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Liverpool midfielder Fabinho may have to wait his turn to gain first team opportunities at Anfield as Jurgen Klopp picks his trusted players.

If you read a “Liverpool predicted starting XI” on social media this summer you would know that most fans thought Fabinho would be a shoehorn to start this year. He was paired with Naby Keita and often Nabil Fekir (hyper-optimists), Xherdan Shaqiri (regular-optimists) or Jordan Henderson (realists).

Two games in to the season and Fabinho is yet to take the field for Jurgen Klopp’s side. A niggling injury has made the decision easy for the manager but it may not be the only reason we haven’t seen the Brazilian midfielder yet.

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When Fabinho came in the door suddenly in the early days of the transfer window – just days after the Champions League final – the presumption was this was an indication that Klopp wanted to upgrade his midfield.

Last season Henderon, Gini Wijnaldum and Emre Can all received regular criticism from the fans for not reaching the standards they expect. However Klopp trusts the players who have carried out his instructions and have earned the privilege of starting.

Fabinho has yet to do that and a middling pre-season has done nothing to force his way into immediate contention.

If you look at the signings of Andrew Robertson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain then you can see how Klopp allowed them four months of bedding in before getting regular game time in the first team.

I would not be surprised if something similar happened for Fabinho this year. He will be rotated in every so often and will likely start in the league cup games.

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Both Wijnaldum and Milner have been excellent in the first two games and we know how much Klopp trusts Henderson. A little waiting from Fabinho and his fans will have to happen before he can establish himself as the midfield enforcer we think he will become.