With the image of Fabinho dominating any and all midfield for Liverpool almost becoming a thing of the past, the similarly all-action Joao Palhinha might be the club’s solution to finding a worthy heir to the throne of the declining Brazilian.
A peek at Fabinho’s demise
With Henderson and Milner in their 30s as well, one can sympathize with the pair’s best days being behind them at this point.
However, the same cannot be said for the Brazilian international, who should be at the peak of his powers at 28 years of age.
As recently as last season, the former Monaco lynchpin was considered one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.
However, an alarming drop-off in Fabinho’s athleticism has been evident this term, with his ability to cover the hard yards and screen the back four seemingly non-existent for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Especially in the case of any number six, a physical regression is perhaps the biggest warning sign that their time at the top may be coming to an end.
Considering the Reds’ penchant for eyeing cut-price deals in the transfer market, a successor that ticks all the boxes needed to succeed Fabinho may very well be plying his trade in the Premier League.
For anyone that still considers them unfamiliar with what makes Joao Palhinha one of the very best defensive midfielders in the Premier League, his all-conquering display in Fulham’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester United was an insight into why he is a master of his position.
According to Squawka via Twitter, the Portuguese international made 9 tackles against United, the most by any player in a single league game this season.
The statistics highlight the 26-year-extraordinary old’s ability to mop up any hints of danger, as he kept Erik ten Hag’s side at bay for the duration of the game.