Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said that midfielder Fabinho is “close” to making his Premier League debut.
The Brazil international arrived at the club in the Summer and had a full preseason of training and friendlies, but hasn’t been afforded the chance to show what he can do in the league as yet.
Klopp’s decision to keep back the former AS Monaco man has been met with confusion by some fans, but it looks like he will be getting his chance as domestic action returns to the menu after the international break.
“Close.” Klopp responded when asked how near Fabinho is to appearing in the Premier League for the first time.
“I didn’t see him for ten days so it’s not the best thing to judge exactly how he is. But very close, he was never far away, that’s how it is.
“He needs to get used to different things, that’s how it is for all the players.” he added.
Klopp went on to talk about a situation he had at former club Borussia Dortmund when Germany international Ilkay Gundogan was held back initially before being given the chance to prove himself.
“‘I had this situation so often, I don’t like to tell too many old stories but Ilkay Gundogan didn’t play for half a year,” he continued.
“The only difference was he was a young player from Nurnberg and nobody asked about him. He asked, he was not in the squad, there were a lot of difficult moments.
“You need to be ready, that’s how it is. At one point I have to make a decision if somebody is ready or not.” he added.
Klopp agreed a deal to bring Fabinho to Anfield soon after the Champions League final and so was clearly behind the idea of bringing him to the club, which he reaffirmed.
“We’ve already made the decision if he is the right player for us but now we have to come together.” he said.
“There’s no problem on that side, but I can imagine in that world when everyone asks the you constantly ‘oh, you don’t play’, so the player is not really comfortable.
“For me I don’t care too much, but I have to explain it. There’s only reason – because other players fit better in the moment. One reason, no other.
“I really think a lot about who plays in which position. It’s about the new player to close that gap, it always took time and always will.
“And when he closes the gap, he’ll go and make us better.” he finished.
Fabinho will hope to be given his chance in the upcoming fixtures against Huddersfield Town, Red Star Belgrade and Cardiff City.