The maestro Liverpool must find cover for having proved he’s just as important as Mo Salah and Sadio Mane

Fabinho was excellent in Liverpool’s 3-0 victory over Brentford and underlined how valuable he is to the team.

The pre-match talking point was only one thing. It raged and raged.

There was no getting away from it - and Jurgen Klopp knew it.

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Questions answered

He, of course, expected to be peppered questions about Liverpool's lack of firepower without Mo Salah and Sadio Mane. Indeed, he was.

The Reds were blunted by 10-man Arsenal in their Carabao Cup semi-final first leg last Thurday.

Held to a 0-0 draw, there were concerns about where the attacking solutions would come from.

With Salah and Mane away at the African Cup of Nations, just how were the Reds going to score goals?

The problem was emphatically answered against Brentford.

Klopp found the ideas and engineered a 3-0 victory that saw Liverpool move up to second in the Premier League table.

It could quite well have been more.

And the player who opened the scoring at Anfield underlined yet again to everyone what a pivotal player he is.

A pivotal player that's just as important as Salah, Mane, Virgil van Dijk and the rest of the Champions League and Premier League-winning crop.

Fantastic Fabinho

Fabinho won't score too many easier goals than his 44th-minute header he bagged against the Bees.

Left unmarked and with the goal gaping, all he had to do was nod home. That he did to give the home side a timely opener.

It was a third goal in as many games for the Brazil international.

A prolific goalscoring midfielder? Maybe not. But his performance was much more than just anchoring the midfield and snuffing out danger like many associate him with.

Sure, he did that. Like he so often does. Fabinho was seven aerial duels, which no other Liverpool player could rival. Not even Joel Matip (five) or Virgil van Dijk (two).

He was also top of the interceptions chart with two.

But it was Fabinho's work going forward that impressed even more.

With extra creativity required, especially from the engine room, he delivered.

In total, the former Monaco midfielder played four key passes, which was unrivalled.

His pass completion of 91.7% too couldn't be matched by anyone, either.

And his presence allowed Curtis Jones, who played in a more advanced role, the freedom to try things and thrive.

Fabinho battles Ivan Toney during Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Brentford. Picture: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Arriving only two days after the Champions League final defeat in 2018, Fabinho first needed some time to adapt and acclimatise Klopp's tactics.

Now he knows his Liverpool role inside out. He’s a veteran of the side who’s ever-present when fit.

For all the clamour of not having sufficient cover for Salah and Mane, they don’t have a suitable replacement for Fabinho.

That needs to be addressed next summer. Without him, Klopp’s outfit don’t function at their peak.

The Reds were sage to tie Fabinho down to a new contract last summer. There aren't too many better in the world in his position.

Aged 28, Liverpool are going to benefit profusely from having Fabinho during his peak years.

Unfortunately, as things stand, that can’t be said for either Salah or Mane.