Updated: Jul 25, 2020
Role: Defensive disruptor, deep lying playmaker
Share Price: £0.83
Who is Fabinho?
Fabinho, or Fabio Henrique Tavares, is a Brazilian central midfielder admired for his defensive contributions. Having played in Brazil, Spain, France and now the UK, Fabinho has mastered the art of holding midfield by developing across a multitude of leagues around the world. Having arrived at Liverpool back in 2018, he was slowly introduced to Anfield – some doubting his £39m worth during the anti-climactic introduction. Now, he’s considered one of the best defensive midfielders in Europe and is a highly praised piece in a Liverpool side that has dominated the Premier League this season.
Style of Play
Known more for his defensive contributions, Fabinho offers a physicality and tenacity that often turns possession in Liverpool’s favour. However, since settling in to life at Anfield, Fabinho has slowly tailored his abilities to suit the highly dynamic Liverpool side going forward. He’s not a playmaker in the sense of producing the final key pass, so doesn’t rally up assists. But he does sit deep in midfield offering the pivot in the final third to switch play or slot a pass into the mixer – where Firmino often finds himself interlinking the goal-scoring chance. In Liverpool’s most recent match, a dinked through ball by Fabinho over the back-line assisted Salah, indicating the vision and passing ability of the Brazilian is certainly sufficient to contribute to assists when the chance presents itself.
Playing centrally, but not aggressively direct, means Fabinho offers the opportunity to rack up PB points through passes played, ball recoveries, interceptions, tackles and aerial duels. It’s not common we see the deep midfielder play the final ball for an assist, nor get on the score sheet. Despite his sizeable stature, he’s rarely seen in the box – as Liverpool favour Wijnaldum or Henderson going forward from midfield. As a result, Fabinho’s PB isn’t exceptional. The PB Matrix tends to favour attacking players who can contribute to the end product. Fabinho has a tendency to play deep, so his PB lies on the foundation of the aforementioned defensive and passing duties. That said, in the last two games since Project Restart, Fabinho has been seen going forward far more. An assist to Salah, and a rocket strike from 30 yards saw him featuring more prominently on the scoresheet. His PB against Palace was a heavily respectable 263 – earning PB dividends for that matchday. If Liverpool deploy Fabinho offensively more often, it’s not unreasonable to assume his PB average of 101 this season will increase.
Despite Liverpool being a dominant force in Europe, the brazilian is not a media hit. This partly due to the fact that Liverpool have so many other media sensations, such as Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mo Salah and Virgil Van Dijk. But it’s also due to the nature of his role – holding midfielders are rarely a hit. Goalscorers and chance creators lead headlines, whilst English players are favoured across media outlets. On top of that, the unlikelihood of Fabinho departing means the rumourmill has turned stale. It looks as though the Brazilian is staying at Anfield and won’t feature as a media candidate all that often.
It’s a difficult one to call. The Index has such a tendency to inflate youngsters, whilst starting players in their mid 20’s are frowned upon. Realistically, Fabinho could play his current role for 5-10 more years depending on injury. Defensive midfielders in the premier league can thrive into their 30s, just like fellow Brazilian Fernandinho has shown this season. Given how Fabinho has strategically been introduced and developed into the Liverpool side over the past two years, it looks as though Klopp will be using him regurlarly going forward. On top of that, his improvements over the course of the past two seasons have been exceptional, as he now finds himself up to speed with the Premier League playing styles. A 3 year investment will likely see a small rise in value, though it’s Fabinho is not a lucrative investment for a value rise. He’s established, with little buzz, but has the chance to win PB and not lose his value due to age. With that said, it looks as though Fabinho could hold value and offer the occasional dividend as a safe long-term bet. For as long as Liverpool are playing the way we are seeing, a starter under £1 looks a good deal for coming seasons.