Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has revealed how Brazilian stars Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho were integral in helping persuade compatriot Fabinho to sign for the club.
The versatile midfielder has been a revelation since his arrival at Anfield in 2018, slotting in seamlessly at the base of the Reds midfield, while also more recently impressing at the heart of the defence in the absence of influential centre-back Virgil Van Dijk due to injury.
The 27-year-old, who can also be deployed at right-back, has won both the Champions League and Premier League since moving to England and has developed into one of the Reds most important assets in the current squad.
The former Monaco man attracted the attentions of the likes of Man Utd and Man City before opting to join Liverpool, Klopp has revealed that current first-team star Firmino and former Reds man Coutinho were both ‘instrumental’ in helping to land the ‘shy’ Fabinho.
“We just said what we had to say, what we think and what he will be for us and stuff like this,” he said, as per the Liverpool Echo.
“I think the best help was probably Bobby as they knew each other from the national team and for sure what Phil said about Liverpool because he loved and still loves Liverpool, so these kinds of things helped.
“I can’t tell you exactly what I said to him, because it was so long ago, but it was obviously convincing enough and so it came together.
“When I met him first, he was a pretty shy boy and maybe he thought it would be best to be around a pretty vocal loud manager!”
While it’s primarily been his performances in defensive midfield that have endeared him to the Reds faithful, the Brazilian has also illustrated his ability to slot in just as well in defence, with Klopp explaining that he has the natural quality to play both positions equally as impressively.
“I’d love to say it was just because of us and before he came here, he could have never played in any of the positions he plays – but that’s just not true!
“I wouldn’t even say Fab is a defensively minded player, he’s more an organisational kind of player.
“He’s very strategic, I don’t know what he played in his youth in Brazil, but for Monaco and the national team he frequently played at right-back.
“He’s also played in one of the double six positions, so he’s just able to play centre-half – you can see that in so many situations.
“His challenging skills are just outstanding defensively and football-wise he’s good in small spaces, so it makes sense to play him in centre-midfield but he can play centre-half and we knew that.
“Thank God that we have him and with him and the other boys we have somebody to play in this position.”