Exclusive: Jason McAteer lauds Fabinho after defeat in Naples

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Liverpool were beaten in Naples for the second year running on Tuesday night, and Jason McAteer has given his thoughts on the clash exclusively to Football FanCast, in partnership with GentingBet.

The Reds were victim of a controversial penalty decision at the San Paolo Stadium, as Jose Callejon appeared to already be going to ground before Andy Robertson clipped him.

McAteer shared his view on the incident: “No, I didn’t (think it was a penalty). I thought the referee got it wrong.

“It was a weak one, Robertson asked the question of the referee to make a decision, but it would be nice to see the referee take a stance against people clattering into defenders and falling over and diving.”

The second goal came courtesy of a mix-up between Virgil van Dijk and the rest of the back-line, and although the Reds have have kept just one clean sheet this campaign, the former Kop ace is not concerned by the issues at the back.

“For 80 minutes we were worth a point and I think if you had offered Jurgen (Klopp) that he would have taken it.

“It’s obviously raising question marks because of the defensive form we had last season, but there are going to be times when other teams create chances, are clinical and we are going to concede goals.

“I’m not pointing that at Adrian, but to lose a ‘keeper of Alisson’s quality, when he’s got the understanding of the four in front of him, it is a big loss.”

Fabinho was undoubtedly the Reds’ star player on the night with 95% passing and six tackles, and McAteer was absolutely full of praise for the Brazil international.

“He gives the manager a license to be more expansive with the two players alongside him.

“He’s slowly becoming a cult hero at the club, more or less now he’s the first name on the team-sheet. I’m a big fan of his, I wouldn’t put him quite in N’Golo Kante’s bracket just yet, but he’s certainly not far away.”

Elsewhere in the group, Erling Haaland stole the headlines with a hat-trick for Red Bull Salzburg, and speaking on his upcoming battle with van Dijk, McAteer said: “He’s still a young lad, it will be a good test to come up against arguably the greatest defender in the world.

“Playing for Salzburg is different to playing for one of the top, top clubs. It’s whether he gets the service and whether Salzburg have enough of the ball.

“But for him as a learning curve you always want to put yourself against the best, and I’m sure he’ll learn from the experience.”

Klopp’s side will welcome the Austrian outfit to Anfield on October 2.

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