Fabinho: Champions League pressure is no problem for defending champions Liverpool
Fabinho believes holders Liverpool deserve to be considered one of the Champions League favourites this year after having made the final for the past two seasons.
Liverpool can cope with the pressure of being considered leading Champions League contenders, according to midfielder Fabinho. The holders commence their trophy defence with a tough Group E fixture away to Napoli later tonight.
Mohamed Salah and Divock Origi scored as Jürgen Klopp's men edged Premier League rivals Tottenham in last season's final and secured the club a sixth European crown. Liverpool had suffered heartbreak at the last hurdle 12 months earlier, losing to Real Madrid, but are now very much one of the teams to beat in Europe.
We're used to pressure
"[We are] one of the favourites, I think," Brazil international Fabinho told the club's official magazine. "The reigning champion is always the favourite and given Liverpool's run of form over the last two competitions we must be considered one of the main contenders. But it doesn't put any additional pressure on us, we know how to deal with it, we know how to handle the pressure. It won't be a problem. The Champions League is the toughest competition in Europe with all the best teams involved. We'll do everything to qualify for the round of 16. It's a case of taking things step by step."
Ready for new challenges
Liverpool enter the Napoli game at Stadio San Paolo fresh from a 3-1 defeat of Newcastle United in the Premier League. The victory, along with Manchester City's shock defeat to Norwich City, moved them five points clear at the summit. The Reds claimed 97 points while juggling their Champions League run last term and Fabinho thinks competing on both fronts remains a realistic objective.
"It is possible, but it's very, very difficult, all the players have to be prepared and focused," he said. "The team has shown that it is focused, has ambition and is prepared for this challenge."
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