Rafael Benitez has outlined the reasons for Fabinho’s sudden dip in form for Liverpool but insisted he remains a great player in his position.
Liverpool’s problems continue to grow with each passing week. Jurgen Klopp cannot figure out solutions to arrest their recent slump, as they continue to slip further away from the top four places.
Back-to-back defeats to teams in the relegation zone have further dented the confidence of Klopp’s side. Last weekend, Liverpool fell to a late Crysencio Summerville goal as Leeds shocked the Anfield crowd. Barring goalkeeper Alisson Becker, every other player has played well below their standards.
While the squad has many injuries, the fit ones have underwhelmed. Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez are less prolific, while Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold remain sloppy at the back. One of the biggest disappointments this time is Fabinho’s drastic performance drop.
Some of Fabinho’s comments from pre-season will come back to bite the Brazilian. Once compared to some of Europe’s elite defensive midfielders like Rodri or Casemiro, the midfielder is nowhere near his usual self. He has, at best, become Klopp’s choice off the bench, as he does not deserve a starting place at the moment.
However, former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez may have few answers on Fabinho’s sudden dip in form. In his interview with The Times, the Spanish tactician insisted the midfielder needs the proper support around him to protect the backline.
Benitez said, “Fabinho needs solutions around him. He is not like Thiago Alcantara, who can pass to his left, right, in front, or wherever because he can see all these things. But then, Thiago cannot challenge like Fabinho or provide the same balance.”
“In Fabinho’s case, the solution are having players around him in the right positions so that he can give them the ball. If this happens, then he will make fewer mistakes and can continue protecting the centre-backs.”
“He needs a bit of belief at the moment, but he is still a great player.”
As things stand, Fabinho needs a dramatic upturn with his displays. With the World Cup on the horizon, Brazil coach Tite will keep a close eye on his form. If there is no improvement, the manager may not select one of his regular squad players for the trip to Qatar.