Liverpool star Fabinho has revealed that he spoke with Jurgen Klopp before Wednesday night’s Champions League tie against Ajax, and was told by the Reds boss to replicate Virgil van Dijk’s leadership at the back.
Fabinho put in a brilliant display at the Johan Cruyff Arena on Wednesday night.
The Brazilian midfielder filled in for Van Dijk at centre-back following the Dutchman’s ACL injury.
It wasn’t the first time he’s filled in at the back, and had another solid game alongside Joe Gomez in the middle of defence.
Liverpool coped well in their first game without Van Dijk, keeping a clean sheet and getting three valuable away points in their opening Champions League group game. Fabinho himself produced a goal-line clearance while the Reds were leading 1-0 which proved to be a crucial moment in the match.
Fabinho is expected to be used as a third-choice centre-back behind Gomez and Joel Matip, having played there before in the past for Klopp.
In the past, he’s lined up alongside Van Dijk at the back, but now he has been forced to take up a more vocal leadership role.
Speaking after the game, Fabinho revealed he had spoken with Klopp after the German boss named his starting XI and was told what style of play to adopt.
He explained that Klopp told him to be vocal at the back and instruct the rest of the defence, while conceding he doesn’t feel he’s the same type of leader as Van Dijk is.
“First of all I think he’s the best defender in the world right now, most of all he’s a leader in the team, in the dressing room. He keeps a good mood and a good atmosphere, and we’ll miss this.
“We have to keep going, do our best and win the games for him as well.
“We have Thiago, Alisson, Joel [Matip] injured right now, they try to recover as quick as possible.
“Tactically I have to be ready for the long balls and try to organise the team. It’s not easy but I have to do a little bit of what Virgil always does, talk to the players, try to be a leader.
“Of course, I’m not really [a leader], but I try to do my best, I will do my best.
“It was very important for me and for the team to keep the clean sheet today.
“I try to do my best, of course. The manager told me I have to talk more to the team, to organise the team.
“Sometimes it’s little details, getting the second balls, being ready, pressing good, and I try to be in this role as well and do my best.”
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