Fabinho could need up to six months to adapt to Liverpool's style of football, warns Jurgen Klopp

The Brazilian has played a grand total of one minute since arriving at Anfield from Monaco in the summer

Liam Twomey
Wednesday 26 September 2018 09:11
Jurgen Klopp explains why he took Xherdan Shaqiri off at half-time

Jurgen Klopp has revealed that it may take up to six months for summer signing Fabinho to fully adapt to Liverpool’s way of playing.

Fabinho joined Liverpool in a £43.7 million deal from Monaco in May but has made just one appearance for the club so far this season, coming on as an 89th-minute substitute during Tuesday’s 3-2 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

Klopp’s reluctance to field a player who was integral to Monaco’s run to the semi-finals of Europe’s elite club competition in the 2016-17 season has raised eyebrows, but the German said it will take time for the specific movements required from the midfielder to become instinctive.

“It's not different between him and other players,” Klopp said of Fabinho. “It's really not complicated, he just needs to get used to it. It's about positioning, it's about reaction, about spaces defensively, closing them, offensively using them.

“It's a football team with a specific way of playing. It needs time, and they were all used to other football teams. So you have natural runs in a team.

“Like, let me say, a very famous movement here was Phil Coutinho. Half left, inside, nice shot! For this one, you needed somebody to overlap and make it difficult to defend, so that one defender at least is busy. Things like that explain it. It's completely normal.

Fabinho has made just one appearance for Liverpool this season

“There's no time to say 'I give you that, or that', but it will happen. Because the game is so quick and intense, it needs to get natural. It's not about changing these players, we want their football personality. They are here because of what they did.

“Three or five weeks sound like a long time in football, but to improve something you can give half a year, to really make the next step. That's it.”

Fabinho could make his first Liverpool start when Klopp’s men take on Chelsea in the EFL Cup third round at Anfield on Wednesday – just three days before the two clubs face off again in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri has played down his side’s chances of competing for the title this season, claiming it will take a year for his players to reach the level of Manchester City and Liverpool.

Klopp agrees. “He is right,” he added. “We work longer together. That's why I say it's quite impressive what he's done in a short period. They were very successful with [Antonio] Conte, so changing it that much is cool. These players are able to play this game, Jorginho in midfield is a big influence.

“But he obviously doesn't need as much time as I do [to make an impact]. It's really impressive what he's done so far.”

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