Steve Nicol didn’t hesitate when asked for his Liverpool player of the season so far, speaking on ESPN FC, and it wasn’t top scorer Mohamed Salah.
Instead, the former Liverpool defender chose Brazilian midfielder Fabinho.
The Brazil international had an uncharacteristically shaky match last night as Liverpool lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter-final.
But he was far from being the only member of Jurgen Klopp’s side to have a disappointing night in Spain. And Fabinho has plenty of credit in the bank as far as Nicol is concerned.
Nicol names fab Fabinho
When asked for his Liverpool player of the season so far, Nicol said: “I think it’s easy – Fabinho.
“Fabinho, without question in my opinion, has been the most consistent Liverpool player at a high level every time he steps on the field.
“He’s had one bad game out of 100. That means his percentage is down to 99.”
Diogo deserves recognition
Nicol also gave an honourable mention to another player. He said: “You could argue Diogo Jota has been fantastic. But he hasn’t played the amount of games to get it.”
Joto has certainly made a massive impact since signing from Wolverhampton Wanderers for £41 million (BBC Sport) in September.
His 12 goals in 23 games is a brilliant return for the Portugal international, especially when he’s competing to break into Liverpool’s fabled front three.
Fabinho’s contribution has been far less flashy – but equally as efficient.
He has been the epitome of consistency following his £43.7 million (Sky Sports) move from Monaco in 2018.
His role as protector of the defence changed as the Reds’ centre-back crisis increased. Klopp redeployed the 27-year-old at centre-half but still Fabinho shone.
Bringing in new blood allowed the Brazilian to return to his favoured position. And the team has looked better for it.
But the wheels came off last night as Madrid carved through their English opponents with ease.
Sloppy mistakes helped the La Liga champions and give Liverpool a mountain to climb in the second leg.
Experienced European campaigners such as Fabinho will be crucial if the Reds are to cause another upset in their beloved competition. Just ask Nicol, who was also known for his versatility in the famous red shirt.
Another Barcelona anyone?
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