Between Thiago Alcantara’s impressive second half debut and Sadio Mané’s two goals in a comfortable victory over ten-man Chelsea, most of the time you wouldn’t expect for one of the centre halves to have arguably been the day’s top performer.
On Sunday, though, one of them was, as midfielder Fabinho lined up at a centre half for Liverpool and kept Chelsea’s expensive new striker signing Timo Werner in his pocket. And according to Virgil van Dijk, at least, he was Liverpool’s Man of the Match.
“I just told him as well I think he was Man of the Match,” Van Dijk said following Sunday’s 2-0 victory. “To keep out a striker like Werner and don’t let him score was outstanding. Everyone knows how good he is but it shows also that we need everyone.”
It’s certainly comforting to know that Fabinho can, in a pinch, fill in more than capably at the back as was the case on Sunday with both Joël Matip and Joe Gomez out injured. The only question, perhaps, is where to fit everyone when everyone’s fit.
For now, though, that’s a question for another day, and the focus is on Sunday’s victory. The second for Liverpool to start what will be a highly congested 2020-21 campaign, and one that appears to mark the Reds as favourites to defend their league crown.
“Overall we dominated,” Van Dijk added. “Obviously the red card helps a little bit, we can’t deny that, but even before that we created moments of danger and we were very concentrated and very ready to get the good result.”