The Reds legend says the Brazil international has starred at Anfield this season, with plenty failing to sparkle in what has been a testing campaign The 2020-21 campaign has been a testing one for reigning Premier League champions Liverpool, but the performances of Fabinho have been one plus point for the Reds.
Amid a string of untimely injury setbacks in defence, the versatile Brazil international has stepped up at Anfield in a collective hour of need.
The 27-year-old has picked up knocks of his own, but the vast majority of his 31 appearances this season have come as a makeshift centre-half when Jurgen Klopp has been crying out for inspiration in that area of the field. Editors’ Picks
What has been said?John Barnes believes Fabinho can be considered the Reds’ Player of the Year, so impressive has he been, with the Liverpool legend – speaking in association with BonusCodeBets – telling Goal: “The one player who has impressed me the most for Liverpool this season is Fabinho.
“Due to injuries, he’s been put into defence and played quite well throughout the season.
“You can see the influence he has on the team when he’s put back in the midfield. Fabinho’s been Liverpool’s most consistent performer.”
Who has failed to live up to expectations?Fitness setbacks, rather than struggles for form, have been the biggest problem for Liverpool.
That said, many of those who put in consistently excellent performances during Champions League and Premier League title triumphs have endured the odd dip this time around.
Barnes is reluctant to point fingers at individuals when it comes to slipping standards, with it up to everyone on the red half of Merseyside to raise their game.
He added: “The way Liverpool play as a team affects every individual’s performance.
“The reason individual players aren’t performing well is because the team isn’t performing cohesively. They are all part of the same machine.
“For example, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are affected by the performance of the midfield players playing at the back. They’re not playing as well as they should, but it’s not their fault that Liverpool haven’t got the players there to supplement and complement them in defence.
“I don’t look at any individual and say they’re the ones that have fallen short – the entire team has fallen short. The problem with Liverpool’s centre-backs means that the performance of the whole team has changed.”
The bigger pictureLiverpool have slipped to seventh in the Premier League table and a top-four finish, which remains five points out of reach at present, appears to be the best that they can hope for.
More major silverware can, however, be secured in Europe, with Klopp’s men readying themselves for a heavyweight Champions League quarter-final clash with Real Madrid.
Prior to the first leg of that contest taking place, the Reds will return to action after the latest international break with a trip to Arsenal on April 3.