Fabio Carvalho is eager to get started after sealing a move to Liverpool that he described as a decision that needed no persuasion.
The 19-year-old attacker is now officially a Red following a hugely impressive 2021-22 campaign in which he helped Fulham win the Championship by providing 10 goals and eight assists.
On his first day with the club at the AXA Training Centre, Carvalho sat down with Liverpoolfc.com for an exclusive interview about his excitement for the future at Anfield.
The new No.28 also explained how Jürgen Klopp’s record of developing young talents added to the club’s appeal, discussed his style of play and revealed why his father is a massive Darwin Nunez fan.
Read on for a transcript…
Fab, congratulations – it’s happened, you’re here, you’re a Liverpool player. How does it feel?
I’m a bit speechless, to be fair. It’s just an amazing feeling to be here at one of the biggest clubs in the world, if not the biggest. So, I’m just happy to be here and I can’t wait to get started.
Tell us about the feeling when the interest became clear, that you would have the choice of coming to Liverpool. Why was this club the right move and the right feel for you?
To be fair, I had a bit of interest from a lot of clubs but I didn’t let that get to my head because obviously I had a season to focus on. Once you hear that Liverpool are interested, there’s only one thought in your mind, which is to join them and try to be in and around the team. Hopefully I can achieve big things.
Did it feel right when you had the talks and Liverpool were the frontrunners?
Yeah, I spoke with everyone, and the manager, and it just felt so natural. When things become natural it’s just so much easier to make a decision.
Fans will have read about your story; you came over as an 11-year-old from Lisbon, you didn’t have a route into an academy here, you found your way through an amateur team. Tell us about that…
When I first came to England and the UK it was a bit hard because I didn’t speak the language. Neither did my brother and my sister, and it was a bit hard in the beginning. We were just looking for a team because all I wanted to do was play football. Luckily we found Balham Blazers, it’s not the biggest team in the world but they helped me so much to get here and I’m always thankful for that, because they just helped me to be able to show my full potential and put me on a stage where teams could come and look for me, like Fulham did. And I ended up signing for Fulham. So, the same way I’m thankful for Fulham, I’m even more thankful for Balham Blazers.
What about Fulham, then? What was great about them in terms of helping you to the next stage?
It was good, it was amazing. Like I said, I owe a lot to them because I was there for eight or nine years and I managed to work my way all the way up to first-team level. They helped me every day on and off the pitch, they were really supportive and I owe a lot to them as well.
What an experience last season was, to come up to the Premier League. What was that like, playing in the Championship and helping them to get promoted?
It was an unbelievable experience because obviously it was my first full season as a professional footballer. Like any other player, there’s highs and lows but it was just a great experience being able to establish myself in the first-team environment with all the great players at Fulham, who helped me every day as well. It was just an amazing feeling.
Do you feel the style Fulham played will help you coming here to Liverpool?
Yeah, because Marco Silva, the way he plays football and made us play football, is more like attacking football and getting goals, which is similar to how Liverpool play, which is to score goals and dominate games. That’s what I’m here to do, to be able to help the team with my assists, creativity and goals. I’m looking forward to it.
At the age of 19, with that amount of experience already behind you, does that mean you’re ready to contribute straight away at a high level at Liverpool?
Yeah, of course. I feel like, to be the best player in the world you have to play with the best and that’s what I’m here to do.
You’ll have looked at Liverpool last year probably thinking one day you could play here – how do you look at last season and sum this team up?
The togetherness within the team, everyone just seems so close. I know it’s a bit of a clichéd thing to say but it feels like from the outside I can see it as like a big family. Even when things don’t go too well, everyone sticks together. It helps players individually, especially the young players, so I’m looking forward to that.
You mentioned Jürgen Klopp before – what can he do to help you to the next step?
One of the main reasons I joined was because of him; I’ve seen what he’s done to develop players to the next step and I’m sure he’s the right person to do so with me.
You looked around the dressing room before and the names of some of the players you’ll be playing with. You won’t be in awe of these players but how excited are you that you’re going to be in the same team as them?
Yeah, there’s some big names and I’m looking to make a big name for myself as well. There’s big players and I’m just looking forward to learning from every single one of them, from their different experiences. I think they’ll be able to help me and hopefully I’ll be able to help them.
They have had success, they’re winners – are you confident you can contribute to that going forward?
A hundred per cent, yeah. If I wasn’t confident, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. I just have to be able to show my full football and hopefully I’ll be able to help the team.
The club’s signings have been very exciting this summer. You’re a Benfica fan as well – how excited should we be about Darwin Nunez?
Yeah, he’s good. My dad is a big fan of Benfica as well and he loves him! So, I’m sure my dad is happy as well that I’ll be able to play with him. He’s a great signing and I’m sure I’ll be too as well.
There was a lovely moment earlier when you were looking around the training ground with your dad. The sacrifice your family have made to get you to this stage must be heartfelt too?
Not just my dad, my whole family in general; they help me each day and kept me going because family is one of the most important things. Being able to share these moments with them is everything to me because they mean a lot, as well as my friends and my girlfriend as well. Being able to have everyone around me is what dreams are made of. But I always tell myself, I haven’t really made it because there’s always a next step and I’m always looking to get better each day. Hopefully they’re proud of me as much as I’m proud of myself.
For the fans, it has been a brilliant week. They see you sign and they saw Mo Salah recommit on Friday – it brings a big smile to everyone’s face…
Yeah, of course. I’m happy he’s signed a new deal as well because he’s one of the best in the world and I want to learn from him. I’m sure all the fans are happy and hopefully we can win as many trophies this year.
You’ve got great flexibility about your game; you’ll play anywhere to be in the team but where do you feel most comfortable?
Obviously at Fulham I played more in the No.10 role; it just depends on which formation we play. But I also fancy the wing because I’m creative enough to go one-v-one and create things. But like you said, I’m more than comfortable playing anywhere but those two positions are where I want to play.
Harvey Elliott is someone you know very well – how much of a part did he play in how excited you should be to be part of it all?
I don’t think you really need any persuasion to become a Liverpool player because of how big the club is. But I spoke to him and he just said great things. I spoke to Neco [Williams] and Harry Wilson and they had nothing but great things to say about Liverpool. So, it was kind of an easy decision.
You probably can’t wait to get started with pre-season now?
I’m very excited to get started. Obviously pre-season is not the most fun bit about football but it’s something you have to do and get over and done with. It’s just a good way to get to know everyone and get to know the players, so I just can’t wait to get started. I’m looking forward to every single bit of pre-season and the years to come.
Is there a story behind why you’re sticking with 28 as your shirt number?
To be fair, I only picked it at Fulham because it was the only kind of low number available when I first got into the first team. But I made a promise to the kit man at Fulham that I’m going to keep that number because I did well with that number. So, why change it? If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
What do you dream about, what is the eventual vision for you here?
To win as many trophies as I can at Liverpool and to be the best in the world.
Finally, now it’s a reality you’re a Liverpool player, how does it feel?
Like I said at the beginning, it’s just an amazing feeling. I’m sure my family are proud. All praise to the most high and I’m just happy to be here.