Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says he is prepared to give Fabinho as long as he needs to adjust to English football – even if it takes half a season.
Fabinho joined the Reds for an initial £39 million ($51m) from Monaco in May but has made just one substitute appearance so far, in the final minute of last week’s 3-2 Champions League win over Paris Saint-Germain.
Klopp insists the Brazil international still has a key role in his future plans but needs time to adjust to the Premier League and Liverpool's style of play.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup tie against Chelsea, Klopp said: “It’s not different between him and other players. It’s really not complicated, he just needs to get used to it. It’s about positioning; it’s about reaction, about spaces defensively, closing them, offensively using them.
“It’s a football team with a specific way of playing. It needs time, and they were all used to other football teams. So, you have natural runs in a team.
“Like, let me say, a very famous movement here was Phil Coutinho. Half left, inside, nice shot! For this one, you needed somebody to overlap and make it difficult to defend, so that one defender at least is busy. Things like that explain it. It’s completely normal.
“There’s no time to say ‘I give you that, or that’, but it will happen. Because the game is so quick and intense, it needs to get natural. It’s not about changing these players, we want their football personality. They are here because of what they did.
“Three or five weeks sound like a long time in football, but to improve something you can give half a year, to really make the next step. That’s it.”
Klopp is expected to make changes to his side against Chelsea as he looks to rest some of the players who have helped the Premier League leaders win seven games out of seven in all competitions this season.
The German is also likely to have this weekend’s Premier League tie against the same opposition in mind, with Chelsea just two points behind the Merseysiders in the table ahead of Saturday's game at Stamford Bridge.
Whatever his selection, Klopp insists he will pick a team capable of winning and challenged those coming into the side to prove they are good enough to keep their place. He cited the performance of Joel Matip, who put in a commanding display on his first start since March against Southampton last weekend.
“Football players are used to that,” added Klopp. “Playing a game at 50 per cent would be a waste of time. I don’t put pressure on each player who plays tomorrow. If I make changes, I see it as an opportunity, if not then it’s an opportunity anyway. The boys have to prove themselves constantly, to show they are ready for all competitions and each game.
“That’s pleased me the most, the impact of the boys who came in. Joel was brilliant, really brilliant. [Xherdan] Shaqiri, of course, all the guys who came on were really good.
“I want to see a really good football game tomorrow, and I want us to win that game. The pressure is already there. If you don’t perform then it’s quite difficult to improve your situation. But the situation of nobody in this team is bad at the moment.
“Maybe they are not in the squad, but that doesn’t mean they train bad. I couldn’t name one player in the moment who is not training on their highest level. That’s the best thing to say. And as long as that’s the case, then it’s a good situation. They are all in, nobody is out.”
The fact that the likes of Fabinho have yet to feature much this season highlights the greater strength in depth Klopp now has at his disposal.
Alisson, Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita also moved to Anfield this summer and Klopp feels he now has a squad capable of challenging on multiple fronts.
“We lost important players during the summer, so we had to replace them and we did. We had always quite a good squad when we had no injuries, then we had injuries and the squad didn’t look that good anymore!
“In the moment we are in a good way. If they all can carry on training like they do, pushing each other, then we are ready for more than one competition.
“There are only two competitions per week. Always the Premier League, then you have to play one of the other ones. It depends on us how long we will play them.”