Amsterdam, Oct. 22, 2020 (Reuters/Naija247news) Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp pressed midfielder Fabinho into action as an emergency centre-back on Wednesday and he was not in the least surprised.
In the absence of Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip, the Brazilian slotted in seamlessly against Ajax Amsterdam in the UEFA Champions League match.
Fabinho coped with everything the Dutch side could throw at him.
He made a superb clearance off the line before half-time to deny Dusan Tadic and help Liverpool to a 1-0 UEFA Champions League victory.
“Was there pressure on the situation? Yes, it’s clear for the two in the back, 100 per cent… Fabinho can play the position. He likes playing it,” Klopp told reporters.
“I’m not surprised he plays well in the position. Otherwise, we would have thought about a different solution, even when that would have been properly tricky. I’m really pleased for him … It gave him confidence, for sure helped us.
“If I had asked him to play right-back I don’t think he’d enjoy it as much as he’s enjoying the centre-half position. In our situation … we have to keep those boys fit and then they can of course help us a lot.”
Liverpool will have to get used to playing without centre-back Van Dijk, who suffered a serious knee injury following a wild tackle from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford on Saturday.
Klopp looked to avoid potential injury problems to his high-scoring front three, substituting Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino with an hour gone at a sodden Amsterdam Arena.
“I think both teams can play better football, it was pretty wild at moments,” Klopp said.
“The pitch was tricky, deep, muddy a little bit. Both teams looked exhausted pretty early.
“Three days ago it looked completely different … in training too. But it was the same for Ajax.”
Liverpool face Sheffield United in the English Premier League (EPL) on Saturday.