Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum says that Fabinho looks like he’s been playing as a centre-back for his “whole life” after the Brazilian stepped up to fill the void left by Virgil van Dijk in the Reds’ Champions League victory over Ajax.
Having sold Dejan Lovren to Zenit St. Petersburg without bringing in a replacement, coupled with Joel Matip being prone to injuries, questions had been raised over whether Liverpool had enough depth at the back following Van Dijk’s lengthy lay-off.
Fabinho has thus far deputised capably, highlighted by a heroic goal-line clearance in Wednesday’s European showdown, and Wijnaldum believes that the Anfield side are in safe hands duo to the Brazil international being a natural at the back.
“Fabinho does great as a centre-back,” Van Dijk’s Netherlands team-mate said after the match. “I think in the games that he’s played there we didn’t concede any goals. And also, the way that he’s playing… it’s like he’s been playing there his whole life.
“It’s great to have a player who can play in different positions. He does it well in all of the games he plays at centre-back, so it’s a good thing for the team.”
Lining up next to Joe Gomez at the heart of defence – far from a regular occurrence – Fabinho made four tackles, nine clearances and four interceptions, prompting additional heavy praise from his head coach.
“This combination with Joey and Fabinho, I don’t think they played together before if I’m 100 per cent right. Maybe once but I don’t really know,” Klopp told the press.
“So they need to get used to each other, they need to get used to the verbal demands in that position – what you have to say there to help the midfielders and all these kind of things.
“Fabinho can play the position, he likes playing it actually. If I would have asked him to play right-back I don’t think he would enjoy it as much as he’s enjoying the centre-half position.
Source : goal.com