What Klopp, Carra & more have said about ‘outstanding’ Fabinho the CB
Those worries have been soothed a little by defensive midfielder Fabinho dropping back and putting in some strong performances in the heart of defence.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have kept clean sheets both times the 26-year-old has played at centre-back this season, receiving praise for his performances in the 2-0 win at Chelsea and 1-0 win over Ajax in the Champions League. Here’s what’s been said about how he’s doing in his new role.
“Fabinho can play in the position, he likes playing it actually,” the Brazilian’s manager said after he impressed in Amsterdam.
“If I’d have asked him to play right-back, I don’t think he would have enjoyed it so much, but in our situation, at the moment we have to keep these boys fit and they can help us a lot.
“Fabinho, I’m not surprised that he played well there or we would have thought about a different solution, even though that would have been very tricky. I’m really pleased tonight, pleased for him, it gave him confidence and helped us.
“He was good, but even he can play better! This combination with Joe and Fabinho, I don’t think they’ve played together before, maybe once.
“They need to get used to each other, to the verbal demands in that position, what you have to say to help the midfielders, so it was a good performance, but there’s a lot to improve which is good. How high or low is the last line in each moment? Counter-pressing, how do we react there, and it was absolutely good for tonight.”
“Tactically, I have to be always ready for the long balls, try to organise the team,” said the man himself in his post-match interview with BT Sport.
“It’s not easy but I have to do what Virgil always does and talk to the team, try to be a leader. Of course I’m not Virgil, but I’ll do my best.
“It was very important for me and the team to keep a clean sheet today for the confidence of the team.
“Of course, I try to do my best, the manager said to me I have to talk more to the team to try to organise the team.
“Sometimes it’s little details like second balls, being ready, pressing well. I try to be in this role as well.”
“I thought he [Fabinho] was outstanding [against Chelsea]. Normally players who play in the centre of the pitch, certainly a holding midfield role and they fill in for people at different times, they read the game really well. They have a great understanding of the game.
“At times watching Fernandinho play that position for Man City, I thought he was excellent at times last season, and he [Fabinho] was just brilliant today.
“I think that puts to bed any thought Liverpool may have had in needing another centre-back [said before Van Dijk’s injury] because they’ve got so many midfield players, and in some way, they have got to get them games. He was outstanding.”
This was some goal-line clearance from Fabinho! ⛔️
A vital one too, with Liverpool beating Ajax 1-0 in Amsterdam… pic.twitter.com/EbJ3QQYer2
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 21, 2020
“He’s been the best player when he plays there,” the former Manchester United defender said while analysing the Ajax match from the BT Sport studio.
“This guy is a top operator and he played right-back at Monaco as well so he knows how to defend.
“But he’ll be judged on it now because he’ll have a chance to play there for a sustained period. He has read the game really well today. It’s about him starting to establish a relationship with Joe Gomez.
“The problem he has got is he is filling the boots of the best defender in the world and Gomez as well, there will be pressure on both of them and if they can do it.”
His wife’s evidently a fan of him playing in defence, giving him man of the match against both Chelsea and Ajax. But then, she would say that, wouldn’t she?
— Rebeca Tavares (@reebecatavares) October 21, 2020
— Rebeca Tavares (@reebecatavares) September 20, 2020
“Gomez is still relatively inexperienced, and when Trent goes forward does he get pulled out a little bit? But I’d go with him – Gomez and Van Dijk was very good, Gomez just hasn’t started the season well, but neither has Trent,” Lawro told OTB Sports.
“Fabinho can go in and play there but long-term? I’d be more inclined to go Gomez and Matip.”