Fabinho and Joe Gomez showed off their new partnership as Liverpool beat Ajax 1-0. The duo might suit each other remarkably well.
Virgil van Dijk’s injury, coupled with Joel Matip’s fitness struggles, mean we might see a lot of Fabinho and Joe Gomez as a partnership. We got our first taste against Ajax – and it went well.
Liverpool kept a clean-sheet, for one, their first since the last time Fabinho, who joined for £39m in 2018, played centre-half (other than the League Cup game v Arsenal with the second-string). That came against Chelsea as the Brazilian partnered Van Dijk.
But it seems like it’ll be Fabinho and Gomez going forward – and that’s a good thing. The duo could build a very nice partnership together.
Stopper & Cover
Fabinho plays centre-half in a very traditionally English way. He’s physical, relies heavily on tackling, and likes to step out to meet his man, rather than wait for him to come to him.
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Gomez works the opposite way. He’s all athleticism and sweeping, stopping counter-attacks and beating forwards for pace. That’s certainly the modern-day centre-half and Gomez has proven himself to be an excellent one over the last few years.
A quick look into Wednesday’s stats (per Whoscored) shows this off, too. Fabinho won four tackles in the game – the second most. Gomez, in comparison, attempted just one and made it.
£3.5m Gomez made more clearances, however, with 11 – the most on the pitch – to Fabinho’s 9. The pairing have all their bases covered, then. Nearly, anyway.
We still don’t know how well Fabinho and Gomez will handle an ariel assault. Van Dijk is usually the dominant force in the air and neither Gomez nor Fabinho excel at it.
But so far, the two of them suit each other fantastically well. One pushes forward, the other sweeps up behind. Both do their jobs wonderfully and the more they get used to one another, the better they’ll get as a unit.
Right now, though, they’re exactly what the other needs. Fabinho likes to push on, leaving space behind him. But Gomez wants players forcing passes into that space so he can sweep it up.
It would be better if Van Dijk were available, of course. But this partnership, as an alternative, is nothing to sniff at. They could have the tools to get Liverpool through a difficult period.