Two of Liverpool’s big-money summer signings have enjoyed something of a well-timed breakthrough over the course of the last week.
Firstly, Fabinho produced his most promising performance thus far in the whirlwind of a Merseyside derby that ended in the most dramatic circumstances.
Then, Naby Keita proved there is justification to the hype that surrounded his move from RB Leipzig with a man-of-the-match showing in a 3-1 win at Burnley of all places.
Injuries and the unrivalled patience of Jurgen Klopp had combined to limit the pair’s opportunities previously, but they now look ready to take on more a prominent role in campaign that is warming up nicely.
And that can only be a good thing for the Reds, according to club captain Jordan Henderson.
Discussing Keita’s progress following Wednesday’s win at Turf Moor, he said: “I thought he started really well and then got an injury which set him back a little bit. I thought tonight he was outstanding.
“You can see how good he is on the ball, how comfortable he is; driving with the ball forward, which is important for us.
“I think he’ll go from strength to strength as he gets more games and experience. But I think you can already see he’s a fantastic player.”
Henderson is partly to blame for Fabinho’s struggle for minutes in the early stages of the season, the Englishman having been regularly preferred to his new colleague in the No.6 role so far.
Asked if their shared position means he has been key to helping the Brazilian settle, the skipper joked: “I don’t know whether he understands me!
“He’s got lads around him, the Brazilian lads and the French lads. We’re all one group and you can see that on the pitch. I think everyone makes it easy for people to come in and settle.
“But it’s going to take time when you come in from a different league. He’s doing well.”
Keita and Fabinho’s arrival as genuine options for the manager could not be more timely given the packed festive fixture schedule that lies ahead.
Klopp utilised that squad strength to the full on Wednesday, making seven changes to the team that earned a 1-0 win over Everton the previous weekend.
Reflecting on that fact, Henderson added: “We made a lot of changes, the lads that have come in have done a great job and it shows how good the squad is.
“We’re going to need everyone over the next few months because the games come thick and fast. We need everyone to play their part.”More about: | Fabinho | Naby Keita | Jordan Henderson