Fabinho earned the praise of his Liverpool teammates with his display against Ajax. The Brazilian played out of position to cover Virgil van Dijk.
Fabinho played centre-half against Ajax, much as he did against Chelsea last month. The 26-year-old is clearly the fourth-choice in the position now, although, Virgil van Dijk’s injury bumps him up to third.
Fortunately, he plays it really well. Well enough, in fact, that two teammates praised him after the game.
“Fabinho does great as a centre back,” Gin Wijnaldum told reporters, per Eurosport. “I think in the games that he’s played there we didn’t concede goals.
“And also the way how he’s playing is like he’s [been] playing there his whole life.”
“Top players adapt, he’s played there before and has done extremely well,” James Milner added. “Unbelievable clearance as well”.
Milner was talking about Fabinho’s wonderful clearance off the line in the first half. Dusan Tadic looped the ball over Adrian but the Brazilian somehow got back and hooked the ball away over his head. As it turned out, that action earned Liverpool two points.
But Fabinho was far more than that. He won four tackles in the game, per Whoscored, beaten only by Milner (six). He made four interceptions, again only beaten by Milner (five).
His nine clearances were again the second-best behind Joe Gomez (11). While only Gomez and Andy Robertson completed more passes than Fabinho.
He more than earned his teammate’s praise, then. And in truth, it’s probably a great relief to them all that Fabinho looks so comfortable there. Van Dijk’s injury leaves them in the lurch, after all, especially as Joel Matip struggles for fitness.
But Fabinho is here to save the day and, potentially, the season.