Liverpool midfielder Fabinho has revealed that overcoming a difficult start to his time at Anfield made the end of the season all the more satisfying, and pointed to the help provided by teammate Sadio Mane as important in his first Reds campaign.
The 25-year-old made the switch from Monaco in May last year just two days after Liverpool lost the 2018 Champions League final to Real Madrid.
A slow start to the campaign saw him struggle at times to assert himself in midfielder, but the No.3 ended the season as one of the top holding midfielders in Europe and a mainstay of Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI.
“Overall I think my first season at Liverpool was good,” the Brazilian said, as quoted by Liverpoolfc.com. “In my first season I knew there would be a learning and settling-in period. I went through this.
“It didn’t last that long but I remember it wasn’t easy starting afresh, I was left out for a few matches.
“Even though I was telling myself that I needed to work hard and be patient, it’s not easy being out of the team. But that’s in the past now, I started playing more.
“The more you play, the more you can enjoy your football. I think I became an important part of the team, I gave the manager another option he could depend upon. So I think it was a really good season.”
Fabinho also revealed how Mane helped him settle in at Anfield, saying: “Sadio Mane is a genuinely impressive player, he’s tireless, playing in every game with such high levels of intensity and concentration.
“His technical ability goes without saying, he always makes a difference for us.
“He’s a complete player – he gives you the option of a short pass or a long ball, he contributes to the build-up and creation of play as well. He’s a great player in amazing form, which is really important for his confidence.
“Off the pitch I chat with him quite a bit as we both speak French, my French is still better than my English. He’s a great lad. Sadio has been a really important player for us this season.”