Liverpool midfielder Fabinho has admitted that he has had to adjust to the physical intensity of the Premier League since arriving from Monaco this summer.
The Brazilian signed for Jurgen Klopp’s side in a high-profile deal from the Ligue 1 side ahead of this season, but initially struggled to cement a regular place in the Reds’ midfield setup.
Fabinho’s struggles for consistent game time may be due in part to having to adapt to the Premier League’s more physical nature, by contrast to the less intense nature of Ligue 1.
Speaking to L’Equipe, via Get French Football, Fabinho admitted: “When you have the ball at your feet, you have less time to react.
“You always have one or two opponents on your back. In France, I was able to turn.
“Here, your reaction time has to be very quick. And the physical impact hurts. These guys resist duels and jump high.”
Fabinho stats vs Brighton
Aerial duels won 4/4
Clearances 5 (most on pitch)
Passes – 110
Pass success 85%
Clean sheet ✅
He’s not even a centre-back! pic.twitter.com/FhMBgN0ZzJ
— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) January 12, 2019
Fabinho has made 13 Premier League appearances under Jurgen Klopp this season, scoring once.
The Brazilian has endured a similar struggle to that of fellow summer signing Naby Keita in forcing his way into Liverpool’s midfield on a regular basis, with long-standing incumbents such as James Milner, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum continuing to perform.
At the age of 25, Fabinho has age on his side in terms of working his way up to speed in order to meet the physical demands of both Premier League football and the requirements to export Jurgen Klopp’s high-intensity style of play.
Fabinho now looks a classy centre half alongside van Dijk, to go with his obvious ability to pass the ball through congestion from the holding midfield role. Oh, and he plays right back for Brazil. Suddenly £40m doesn’t look so much. #LFC #versatile
— David Maddock (@MaddockMirror) January 12, 2019
Klopp has a raft of defensive injuries to contend with at present, with the likes of Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren all currently side-lined, and that has enabled Fabinho to get more minutes under his belt in Liverpool’s back line.
The Brazilian was fielded alongside Virgil van Dijk at the heart of defence once more during the Reds’ 0-1 win away to Brighton on Saturday, and may come to terms with the physicality of English football even faster as a makeshift defender.