With just under ten minutes to go in Fulham’s weekend clash against Liverpool, Sergio Rico inexplicably dropped Mohamed Salah’s weak effort, spilled the rebound, and proceeded to concede a penalty when clumsily making contact with Sadio Mane.
Fulham went on to lose the match due to Rico’s massive error, which was far from the only mistake the Spanish goalkeeper has made in the past few weeks.
Given Rico’s penchant for making high-profile mistakes between the sticks, is it time for the Sevilla loanee to be dropped?
When Rico came into the Fulham squad back in late October to replace Marcus Bettinelli, there was little doubt that he provided a substantial improvement over the Englishman.
Rico chipped in with excellent point-blank saves, preventing many a Fulham loss from being far worse than the scoreline suggested. His reflexes and exquisite dives drew rave reviews, finally reminding Fulham fans that they had a Europa League-quality player on their books.
But in the past month, Rico’s performances have dangerously deteriorated. Chief among his struggles have been his handling of corners and crosses into the box. Exemplified by the capitulation at West Ham United, Rico flapped and floundered when Robert Snodgrass whipped in corner after corner. Against Southampton, Rico parried a shot right into the path of James Ward-Prowse. Versus Manchester United and Chelsea, Rico was beaten far too easily at his near post, and the Liverpool incident cost Fulham the match.
In the end, Rico is far from the most culpable figure in Fulham’s awful league campaign, and the goalkeeper has also produced countless extraordinary saves along the way.
But consistency is valued above all in the Premier League — and Rico has been shown to be seriously lacking in that department.
With just seven matches to go and with relegation all but confirmed, Fabri must be itching to prove himself in net for the Whites.
Rico is unlikely to be at Craven Cottage next season and deserves to be dropped in favour of Fabri, in a bid for inspiration and change at the back for Fulham.