Liverpool edged their way to a win over Ajax after a Nicolas Tagliafico own goal gifted Jurgen Klopp a much-needed boost following a torrid few days in the camp.
The Reds were given a huge blow to their defending title season after Virgil van Dijk suffered an ACL injury during the Merseyside derby. The likelihood of the Dutchman being sidelined for the rest of the campaign is very likely. Joel Matip was also left out of Liverpool’s travelling squad last night after picking up a knock.
Klopp was forced to deploy makeshift centre-back Fabinho into the defence to accompany Joe Gomez and troublesome goalkeeper Adrian. But in spectacular fashion, the Brazilian rode to his side’s rescue and was arguably the reason why the Reds were able to come away with a huge win.
Spoils could have been shared at the Johan Cruyff Arena yesterday if it wasn’t for Fabinho’s James Milner-esque heroics. After Dusan Tadic chipped Adrian and looked destined to bag a goal, Liverpool’s No.3 came rushing in with a superb clearance off the line to keep Ajax out.
As well as his impressive acrobatics, Fabinho made an impressive four clearances and four tackles, plus won eight successful duels and enjoyed an 85% passing success rate (via Sofascore).
Klopp also provided an even bigger boost after the game, revealing that the 26-year-old actually enjoys playing in the centre-half position and admitted that he isn’t surprised he played well against Ajax (via Liverpool ECHO). Similarly, he was lauded for his appearance alongside van Dijk against Chelsea last month.
Alisson praised the midfielder-turned-defender for his “unbelievable” shift across the back four, telling the club’s website that he expects these kind of performances from his fellow Brazil international.
With such an influential display under his belt, Fabinho will have eased the minds of both his teammates and the Liverpool fans. It’s unlikely Klopp will opt for anyone else to accompany Gomez in the heart of the defence this season and he may also be a contender for van Dijk’s partner once he returns from injury.