Liverpool midfielder Fabinho has done a very admirable job of filling in at center-back in the absence of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joël Matip this season. He’s done so well as a makeshift defender that his own teammates have joked he might have to switch to playing at the back full-time.
Those jokes are probably a thing of the past now, as he reminded us all why he makes his living as a midfielder in tonight’s 2-0 Champion’s League victory over RB Leipzig, and there will be very few calls for him to play in the back four again barring more injuries. The Brazilian’s performance has elicited praise from virtually everyone who watched the match.
His manager, Jürgen Klopp, raved about his holding midfielder and pointed out how much the Brazilian’s presence helped the Reds’ center-back duo.
“We all want Fab on the six, that’s how it is. Tonight he played there and the two center-halves played an incredible game, to be honest.”
Two former Reds-turned-pundits, Michael Owen and Peter Crouch, both expressed belief that Fabinho’s absence at the base of the Liverpool midfield has been the missing ingredient during their miserable run throughout 2021 on BT Sport’s post-match coverage.
“When he’s in the middle, you feel safe, he did nothing spectacular – but some of these clips are brilliant. He covers the back two which is a weak part in the team,” said Owen.
“They’ve missed him, it’s not beautiful to watch but he is always very calm in possession – he always has a good touch. The biggest miss for Liverpool has been him in midfield. This is the first time since October we have seen him in midfield, and Liverpool look a different team,” Crouch followed.
Perhaps most noteworthy of all are the comments made by Fabinho himself. After the match, he apparently made it quite clear to Klopp that he was happy to be back in midfield.
“I told him on the way downstairs, ‘you like the No. 6 position more than the other one eh?’, and he couldn’t show it more clearly!” said the German manager.
This was followed by Fabinho admitting that he missed playing in the middle of the park over the last few months when peaking with LiverpoolFC.com after the win.
“Yes, I missed it a little bit playing the midfield position.”
We missed it too Fabinho. We missed it too.