Any Liverpool fans panicking about Fabinho’s lack of gametime since his big-money summer move from Monaco need only remember Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andy Robertson in order to relax.
Around this time last season, neither man’s Anfield career had got off the ground; by the sharp end of the season, they’d been integral in Liverpool’s charge to the Champions League final.
Jurgen Klopp has urged the trust of the fanbase and based on previous examples, that’s fair enough. But a look across the north west at Liverpool’s biggest rivals Manchester United shows the other way these situations can pan out.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s extended adaption period to the demands of English football soon transformed into exile from the United first team under Jose Mourinho.
There is no guarantee that Fabinho will come good in any case. He’s more similar to Mkhitaryan than Robertson or Chamberlain; Fabinho was expensive, adjusting to life in a new country, but experienced and thus demanding of game time.
The Brazilian had a full pre-season, without a World Cup, to adjust to Klopp’s demands, but here we are in the closing stages of October and he has only just made his Premier League debut.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. As much as Oxlade-Chamberlain and Robertson provide comfort to Reds fans, Fabinho himself might like to be seeing more action.
Klopp cannot make Mourinho’s Mkhitaryan mistake with Fabinho.