Fabinho returned into the heart of defence to put in another imperious performance for Liverpool.
It was a daunting task given the Brazilian’s qualities in midfield had to be sacrificed following the long-term injury to Virgil van Dijk.
Alongside Joe Gomez, Fabinho was absolutely outstanding and his contribution during the 1-0 win against Ajax was immense.
Tough and resilient as ever, yet what was even more impressive was his reading of the game and his ability to snuff out danger. In quick time, the former Monaco star has become one of Liverpool’s most valuable players.
The secret it seems for Fabinho, is to try to and emulate Van Dijk but also to remember his own qualities that have made him one of the club’s most consistent players since he signed back in 2018.
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Speaking to ViaPlay Football, Fabinho said: “Tactically, I have to be always ready for the long balls and try to organise the team. It’s not easy but I have to do what Virgil always does – talk to the team.
“I have to try and be a leader. Of course, I’m not Virgil but I will do my best.
“While it’s very important to keep the clean sheet for the confidence of the team, that’s very good.
“The manager said to me I have to talk more to the team and organise them, so I tried to do this role.”
The midfielder went on to reveal how he reacted to the news of Van Dijk’s ACL tear that is expected to keep him out for the rest of the season.
Fabinho added: “When I heard Virgil was out for a long time, it was a little bit of a shock. First of all, I think he’s the best defender in the world. And he’s a leader on the team.
“Of course, we will miss this but we have to keep going and try to do the best to win the games for him.
“We have Thiago [Alcantara], Alisson [Becker] and Joel [Matip] missing as well but they are trying to recover as quickly we possible.
“We have to try and win every game.”
In the absence of the irreplaceable Dutchman, Fabinho stepped up immeasurably for his team putting in one of the finest defensive performances we have seen in a long time. We even went as far to give him a 10/10 rating in last night’s victory.
His comments underline why Klopp has maintained faith that even following the loss of Van Dijk, the Reds boss remains confident with the options he still has.
“Yes, we went into the season with three centre-backs and Fabinho as cover. And some young kids as cover. That is usually quite a good number”, was the manager’s spikey response when questioned whether he made a mistake not dipping into the market for another central defensive option in the previous summer window.
This stems from the team’s ability to fight in the face of adversity. Whenever this Liverpool side has been thrown an obstacle, Klopp has installed a mentality that has enabled them to overcome it.
Without Van Dijk, watching from home with his knee in a brace, Europe wanted to know how the Reds would cope. Klopp maintained that his team would deal with any setback thrown their direction, that they would silence the doubters in the only way they know how to – with results.
Overall, Fabinho rounded off a complete performance with four tackles, nine clearences and four interceptions.
Here is a look at how fans reacted to Fabinho’s comments…
Not a bad little replacement mind
— Calaaa (@Calaaa98) October 22, 2020
He had a blinder!
— islandbiker (@Islandbiker) October 22, 2020
Fabinho’s 4th game at Centre Back for Liverpool last night saw his 4th clean sheet in that role. No Virgil, No Alisson, No Problem.
We see this time and time again with Liverpool – Against Barça, No Salah no Firmino. Mentality. #LFC #YNWA 🔴
— Mog (@AnfieldGravy) October 22, 2020
The mentality of this team is relentless, and the positive way to look at this is that it’s an opportunity for Matip/Gomez/Fabinho to really step up. Think there’s a chance we could move for Upamecano in Jan too
— Sam Williams (@SamWilliams__96) October 18, 2020
We don’t need him to be vigil, we need him to be the best version of himself and he showed that last night
— Sem (@SemMutalindwa) October 22, 2020
— Timoroola (@Timoroola) October 22, 2020
Tremendous attitude. All business out there.
— Steve McVeigh 🥊⚽️ (@BoxingScience1) October 21, 2020
First time I’ve heard him speak English , rolls royce😍
— Rory Cubbon (@RCubbon) October 21, 2020
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