How Fabinho Became Liverpool’s Unsung Hero | The Story of Fabinho


Fábio Henrique Tavares, also known as Fabinho, is a professional Brazilian footballer who currently plays as a defensive midfielder for Liverpool in the English Premier League and the Brazilian national team.

After beginning his career at Fluminense, he transferred to Rio Ave in 2012. During his time there, he was loaned out to Real Madrid Castilla, making one substitute appearance for the first team. He then spent five years at Monaco, playing a total of 233 games, scoring 31 goals, and winning Ligue 1 in the 2016-17 season.

Fabinho playing in 12/13 season. Santiago Bernabeu.

During his first season at Liverpool, Fabinho achieved success by winning the UEFA Champions League in 2018-19. His contribution continued with a triumph in the 2019 UEFA Super Cup, followed by a crucial role in Liverpool’s Premier League victory in 2019-20. Fabinho’s significant impact has been widely acknowledged, as he played a key part in Liverpool’s resurgence over the years.

Fabinho made his international debut for Brazil in 2015 and was part of their squads at the Copa América in 2015 and 2016 and 2021, as well as the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

He was undoubtedly Liverpool’s standout midfielder in their 2018-19 Champions League triumph and arguably the best player in the team. His statistics were impressive: 85 tackles, 42 interceptions, 2,256 passes, and 197 ball recoveries. Observers of the game witnessed an all-action midfielder who could disrupt opponent attacks as well as initiate moves for his own team.

He also received praise from Klopp following the Champions League victory. “The No.6, or deep-lying midfielder, is incredibly important in modern football, especially when surrounded by more attacking players,” said the German coach. “But Fabinho is not only a defensive player; he is also an excellent footballer.”

Jurgen Klopp gradually introduced Fabinho to the Premier League, but now that he has fully adapted, Liverpool fans have good reason to be excited about his potential. During the latter half of a fantastic campaign in which Liverpool amassed 97 points, Fabinho comfortably established himself as the team’s best central midfielder. He is efficient both with and without the ball and is expected to play an even more significant role in the upcoming season.

In general, there are two types of deep-lying midfielders. One type functions as a playmaker, utilizing long-range passing skills like Andrea Pirlo or providing precise and direct passes like Arsenal’s Jorginho to create attacks from deep positions. The other type focuses on disrupting the opposition and can be either a tenacious, diminutive midfielder who hounds attackers or a towering presence in front of the defense, akin to a third central defender.

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The best players in this position combine attributes from both types, and Fabinho is evolving into such a player. Former Barcelona and Spain midfielder Sergio Busquets is another standout player in this role, and there are several similarities between Fabinho and the legendary World Cup winner.

Both players are tall, strong in the air, consistently well-positioned, and possess long legs to thwart attackers just when it seems they have evaded them. They are capable of influencing the game by delivering intelligent passes through crowded defenses, maintaining ball circulation to stretch the opposition both vertically and horizontally.

Moreover, they are masters of the dark arts, using any means necessary to unnerve opponents. Fabinho had to learn positional discipline during his time at Liverpool, and Klopp mentioned that he initially helped him settle by implementing a system similar to the one he was accustomed to at Monaco, where Fabinho played in a defensive midfield duo known as a double pivot or double six.


In a team known for its energy, drive, and movement, Fabinho offers vital balance with his defensive discipline, seldom being caught out of position. He was particularly influential in crucial versus Everton, Manchester United, and Chelsea last season.

“In the beginning, I thought we had to change the system to a double six midfield that he was used to at Monaco,” added Klopp.

While Fabinho is yet to make the same impact at the international level, as Real Madrid’s Casemiro occupies that role for the Brazilian team, there is no doubt about his position. He is the closest thing Liverpool has to the great Sergio Busquets, solidifying their defensive midfield.

After a slow start, Fabinho has become a versatile and mobile performer under Klopp. Now 30 and reaching his prime, he is central to Liverpool’s ongoing progress as they strive to improve upon their league performance in the 2022/2023 season.