Liverpool squeaked out a 1-0 win over Fulham in midweek, with Marco Silva’s side providing staunch resistance at Anfield.
One of the keys to the Cottagers’ performance was the play of Joao Palhinha in midfield, whose heralded performances this season have been critical to Fulham’s impressive bid to stay up after winning promotion from the Championship last year.
Whoscored rated Palhinha’s all-action performance against Liverpool as the best for Fulham on the day, with the Portuguese international tallying seven tackles, two shots, two successful dribbles, two interceptions, and winning two aerial duels all while completing 91% of his passes.
Funnily enough, Liverpool happen to be in need of midfielders, and what do you know, the rumor mill has done its job and made that connection for the Reds.
In quote that we will all surely read too much into, Jurgen Klopp also made a point of name checking the 27-year-old in his press conference following the narrow victory, praising the ex-Sporting CP man for his role linking the Cottagers together:
“Defending the center against Fulham is really important, because Palhinha is there,” Klopp remarked.
“That’s their connector, to get on the ball.”
The description is notable in that Fabinho has played a similar role for Liverpool’s trophy-winning sides, but has had a fairly poor season by his own lofty standards. It is therefore reasonable to assume that competition at the base of midfield is likely to be prioritized in the upcoming transfer window
With comparable players such Brighton’s Moises Caicedo projected to cost upwards of £70m, Palhinha could be a more affordable option for the Reds, even if only a year on from joining the London side from Sporting CP for €20M.