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Fabinho: Beating Manchester United was highlight of the start of my Liverpool career

8:14 am AEST 1/6/19
The Brazil international says Liverpool's win in December helped him overcome a difficult start to life at Anfield

Liverpool midfielder Fabinho says that beating Manchester United in December helped kickstart his Anfield career.

After arriving from Monaco for €45 million (£39m/$52m) in the summer, the Brazil international initially struggled to settle in the Premier League.

A disappointing showing at Arsenal had rival fans drafting their ‘waste of money’ tweets – but after a commanding performance against United, he has hardly looked back.

“I knew it would be difficult and there would be times when I would be out of the team,” Fabinho said. 

“In terms of adapting, there was a lot of preparation and a lot of hard work.

“The two games in particular that stood out for me was the game against Arsenal [at the Emirates] - that's when I really understood the speed of the Premier League and the attention to detail that is required.

“And in terms of building my confidence, the stand-out game was against Manchester United.

“It was probably one of the best of the season. I managed to get an assist in that game and I really kept up with the rhythm and pace. I think we were much superior than Manchester United.”

That 3-1 victory incidentally proved the trigger for Manchester United to sack Jose Mourinho, but in boosting Fabinho’s confidence it may well prove to be one of Liverpool’s most significant games in recent years.

After cementing his place in the side, his towering performance in the 4-0 win over Barcelona was crucial in allowing Jurgen Klopp’s side to mount an astonishing comeback and qualify for Saturday’s Champions League final, where they go in as favourites against Tottenham in Madrid.

Having watched last year’s final – as Liverpool were beaten by Real Madrid in Kiev – as a soon-to-be member of the squad, the 25-year-old can’t wait to sample the atmosphere in the Spanish capital with thousands of fans having travelled.

“I watched it and at the time I knew I was coming here to Liverpool. I didn't really think about where I'd fit into the team or my position,” he said.

“I was watching it as a fan, so I wasn't really focusing tactically. What really captured me was the passion of the fans and I wanted Liverpool to win.”