InterviewFabinho on fitness, focus and festive fixtures
A 45-minute runout against Manchester City has left Fabinho raring to go ahead of Liverpool's Christmas fixtures.
The Brazil midfielder returned to club duty following the World Cup as a half-time substitute in the Reds’ 3-2 Carabao Cup defeat at Etihad Stadium on Thursday night - and feels ready to start at Villa Park on Boxing Day.
“I felt good in the game against City. I was, I think, in the mood to play this game, I really wanted to play and try to help the team,” Fabinho told Liverpoolfc.com.
“I think for the first 45 minutes [back] I am happy with it physical-wise and with the level of intensity as well so yes, if I am selected for the next game I think I’ll be ready.”
Read our full Aston Villa preview with the No.3 below.
Obviously the result wasn’t what Liverpool wanted at Etihad Stadium but does the fact it was an intense match against a strong opponent make it good preparation for the return of the Premier League?
To have this as the first game back from the World Cup I think was good for us. The intensity of the game was really good, we played a really good game, we had our chances, we scored two goals, we could have scored the third or even the fourth goal, but it didn’t happen. It’s never good to lose, it’s never good to be out of one of the competitions, but we have to look forward. We have another game on the 26th so we have to prepare for this game.
Aston Villa have a new manager, Unai Emery, who has had plenty of time to work with his squad during the World Cup. What kind of match are you expecting at Villa Park?
It’s always hard to play against Aston Villa. It will be an away game but we know our position in the Premier League, we need to win to change this. Yes, they have a good team and with the time that they had with the World Cup, Unai Emery [worked on] his way to play so we have to prepare and be ready to play as well and try to win the game.
Christmas is always a really important time of the season with lots of games in a short space of time. Do you see it as a perfect opportunity to build a basis for the rest of the season?
Yes, it’s always good when we have lots of games because everyone will play, everyone needs to be ready. It’s not easy physical-wise but I hope we will be ready for this because it’s a good opportunity to win two or three games in a row and if we do this it will give more confidence to us for the rest of the season.
Do you feel that the break from club football might have done you good as a squad because it was a chance to reset and rest mentally and physically too?
It can be good. I hope this will be good for the team because as I said before, our position in the Premier League is not the position that we wanted it to be. But this is the reality - we have to face it, we have to try to close the gap to the other teams and yes, game by game try to play better and win.
You were away at the World Cup but there was a lot of work done in Dubai on the team’s principles, such as pressing. Do you hope, and are you confident, that we will see the ‘real’ Liverpool again from now on?
Yes. I saw the game against AC Milan and the team played a really good game with good intensity and played good football as well. We scored goals and that’s obviously important for us and yes, in the game against City it was [important] to show that we are there, that we will fight with the best teams because we are one of the best teams as well. So, yes, I hope that we will keep this level because we will need it.