Berbatov says he was ‘smashing’ Liverpool star ‘with elbows and shoulders’ during training to get him PL-ready
Fabinho may have been dropped for Liverpool’s 2-0 win against ‘only’ Rangers but there’s no questioning the fact that the Brazilian remains one of the best holding midfielders on the planet.
Dimitar Berbatov recognised his ex-Monaco teammate’s talent instantly during their time together in the French top-flight.
“We were in Monaco together, he was a young boy back then. I came from the Premier League but straight away I could see his talent,” the former Manchester United man told Optus Sport (via Rousing the Kop).
“He was very good in training, taking responsibility in the games, he could play at right-back and in the middle of the park.
“In training sessions I was used to physical contact, most of the time I was smashing him here and there, with elbows and shoulders so he could go on the ground.
“He was like ‘Berba, come on!’ and I’m like ‘I’m preparing you for the Premier League’. Funnily enough, years later he’s in the Premier League and one of the best players in the Liverpool team.”
Flash forward to the present day and the man known as the Reds’ ‘lighthouse’, as put forward by Pep Lijnders, has become an invaluable part of the first-XI.
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Does Fabinho come back for the clash with Arsenal?
It’s difficult to see how the No.3 comes back into the side after witnessing how well Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara complemented each other.
That’s not to say that there isn’t room for our midfield enforcer in the starting-XI, though, as things currently stand, it’s highly unlikely that Jurgen Klopp will remove either one of our Spanish playmaker or captain to make room on current form.
It’s possible, of course, that the German tactician might see Fabinho’s struggles as being symptomatic of the 4-3-3 previously favoured.
Still, we reckon he’ll stick with a similar setup to the one employed at Anfield after spotting a handful of benefits across the park.