Jurgen Klopp has praised Ibrahima Konate, Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho for their performance against Wolves last night.
The trio made up the heart of Liverpool’s back-line, with Fabinho operating in his usual role between the centre-halves. There were some nerves at times, but the Reds held out for a fourth Premier League clean sheet in a row.
Van Dijk was key at both ends, heading home the opener for a third goal of the season. Asked about Virgil’s contribution during his post-match press conference, Klopp singled out Fabinho and Konate as well.
“Yeah, we all need that and he [Van Dijk] needs that as well and it’s obviously a really good one, in a tough game for defenders,” said the manager. “I thought we performed tonight, we played a really good game in general. But I really think the centre-halves and Fabinho together, how they covered that area, how they denied the counter-attacks, how they defended into midfield, which is very important against a team who play with one striker, I thought they did really well.
The manager was also quick to highlight the work done by the other parts of Liverpool’s midfield – teenage pair Harvey Elliott and Stefan Bajcetic.
“In possession, we looked pretty good in a lot of moments, with Harvey, Stefan in the half-spaces, that worked well,” said Klopp. “Up front, we grew into the game; it’s not a game where immediately you create plenty of chances but we grew into the game, all the boys were really involved in all the dangerous stuff, worked extremely hard defensively as well. That’s why you win a football game.”
Fabinho showing signs of life
How good is it to see Fabinho putting in a more dominant performance? It has felt a while since we’ve seen such energy from the Brazilian. But it was there last night.
Right from the off he stamped his authority on the midfield like the Fabinho of old. Biting into tackles and winning the ball back in good areas, it was a hark back to the 29-year-old’s peak.
As per Fotmob, Liverpool’s No.3 won 100% of the tackles he attempted. Fabinho also made four recoveries and was only dribbled past once.
In a season where we’ve seen him continually bypassed by opposition midfields, those are encouraging statistics.
They needed to be, too. With the likes of Ruben Neves, Mario Lemina, Matheus Nunes and Joao Moutinho, Wolves are very strong in midfield. When the lineups were announced, there could have been some nerves at seeing Fabinho sit alongside two such young players.
But credit to Elliott and Bajcetic also, they’re mature beyond their years. Bajcetic in particular helps Fabinho out with the dirty work and the Brazil international has looked much better when playing alongside the 18-year-old. As for Big Ibou and Virgil, what a pairing they are. The Frenchman is undoubtedly Van Dijk’s first choice partner now. Please stay fit.
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