Gary Neville has heaped praise on Liverpool midfielder Fabinho, and explained why he thinks he’s currently the best defensive midfielder around.
The Brazilian has started the season in fine form, turning in a series of impressive displays as the Reds have beaten Norwich, Southampton , Arsenal , Burnley and Newcastle to go five points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Jurgen Klopp’s men begin the defence of their Champions League crown at Napoli on Tuesday evening, and former United defender Neville hailed the impact of the former Monaco man.
“I think Fabinho at the moment is the best (defensive midfielder out there),” said Neville on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football coverage of Aston Villa’s goalless draw against West Ham .
“Because what Fabinho does, actually, is he doesn’t sit back in games.
“There are holding midfield players who just play horizontally, pass sideways, and they always shift this way and that way like they’re shuttling across.
“Fabinho plays vertically as well. He goes forward with his passes, he moves forward and steps in and wins the ball back.”
Fabinho is set to start for Liverpool in Naples on Tuesday, and he’s aware that the Reds will have a target on their back as reigning champions.
“[We are] one of the favourites, I think,” he told the club’s official magazine.
“The reigning champion is always the favourite and given Liverpool’s run of form over the last two competitions we must be considered one of the main contenders.
“But it doesn’t put any additional pressure on us, we know how to deal with it, we know how to handle the pressure. It won’t be a problem.
“The Champions League is the toughest competition in Europe with all the best teams involved. We’ll do everything to qualify for the round of 16. It’s a case of taking things step by step.”