talkSPORT pundit Gabriel Agbonlahor infuriated Liverpool fans and exposed either his true bias or his lack of understanding of the game with his dismissive comparison of Fabinho and Rodri.
Given the heightened media coverage surrounding Liverpool and Manchester City, we’re bound to see some outrageous takes here and there before the end of the season but Agbonlahor might take the cake already.
When asked who he thinks is better between Fabinho and Rodri, he opted for the Man City star which is a respectable take even if I believe he’s wrong but his justification for snubbing the Brazilian was ridiculous.
When asked who he thinks is better out of the two, the talkSPORT pundit replied , via TheAnfieldTalk on Twitter: “That’s easy, Rodri. Fabinho can’t run.”
Even if mobility was a major issue for the Reds midfielder, it’s not as though Rodri is lightning quick or particularly dynamic.
Both are probably the slowest in their respective teams but it’s lazy analysis from Agbonlahor to diminish Fabinho’s entire game purely based on his speed and running power.
The former AS Monaco star, who reportedly earns £180,000/week, has shown this season that he is one of, if not the best, in the Premier League when it comes to protecting a high line and very few defensive midfielders have his intelligence or his ball recovery skills.
While midfielders like N’Golo Kante and Wilfred Ndidi use their pace and physical traits to boss the midfield, Fabinho’s ability to read play and intervene before dangerous plays even take shape is vital to Liverpool’s system.
Jurgen Klopp has developed his geggenpressing since taking over in 2016 and while he used to demand that his side throttle teams high up the pitch for as long as they possibly could, he is far more sparing with his pressing now.
Counter-pressing in key zones is the way forward for the German and Fabinho’s ability to win the ball and move it onto more creative players quickly is an underrated part of his game.
Liverpool certainly wouldn’t be chasing a quadruple with a midfielder that “can’t run” but fortunately Klopp can see Fabinho’s value more clearly.