Everyone around Liverpool Football Club has been full of praise for Fabinho’s top notch performance at centre-back alongside Virgil van Dijk on Saturday. The Brazilian midfielder put in a nearly flawless performance subbing in the defensive line when the Reds beat Brighton & Hove Albion by a score of one to nil.
Jürgen Klopp went out of his way to praise Fabinho’s performance, but another person eager to compliment his performance is his teammate Andy Robertson, who also had an excellent game against the Seagulls.
“For somebody playing out of position, he covered so well, he cleared away and had so many good blocks,” Robertson said.
“So credit to him because it can’t have been easy for him playing out of position. I’m sure Fabinho would have preferred to play as the No.6 but that’s the attitude we have in the squad, we are all willing to play in different positions if we have to.
“I’m sure the manager just told him early doors and he embraced it and I thought he was brilliant. I thought he was different class.”
Robertson also sympathizes with Fabinho’s slow start with the team, having experienced a similar bedding-in process when he arrived in the summer of 2017.
He explained, “I think all the lads that have come in have experienced very similar. Me and Chambo [Oxlade-Chamberlain] experienced it last season. Naby [Keïta] is experiencing it a wee bit now, Fabinho has experienced it, Shaq [Shaqiri] has experienced it.
“It’s just learning, and of course the massive expectations that come with playing for Liverpool sometimes takes a wee bit of getting used to. It did for me, and once I got used to it I’ve not really looked back.
“Fabinho took his time and now we are getting the rewards from it. Of course, he would have preferred to play further forward in the last couple of games but we needed him to help keep a clean sheet and we managed it, so all credit goes to him for that.”
Everything in the defense that Klopp touches seems to turn to gold at the moment, and Fabinho’s introduction into the back line during a vulnerable time for the team ended up being another masterstroke. Liverpool are down three centre-backs. Granted, the one they’re left with is maybe the best in the world at his job, but it’s still hard luck to see Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren, and Joël Matip all missing at the same time.
While the Brazilian isn’t a permanent defender, his hard work and smart interceptions against Brighton were enough to help Liverpool continue their winning ways and remain on top of the Premier League another week running.
He may yet play another game in that position, if Klopp deems Matip not fit enough to start by this Saturday when Liverpool take on Crystal Palace. But thanks to his assured performance, that no longer seems as dangerous as it had before.