Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has heaped praise on Brazilian midfielder Fabinho after he starred in his favoured position in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over RB Leipzig in the Champions League.
Of his 30 appearances in all competitions this year, Fabinho has played in midfield in just eight times, with five of those coming before Liverpool lost centre-back Virgil van Dijk to serious injury back in October.
Fabinho has filled in valiantly at the back but was finally restored to midfield for the victory over Leipzig, bringing some much-needed control to game, and Klopp insisted after the game that people should not underestimate just how crucial he is to the team.
“We have to see what solutions we can find for the next games – but number six is his position,” Klopp said (via BBC Sport).
“It was our hope to keep him there for the season. He is one of the best in the world in that position, that is clear – not only defending-wise but creating as well. He is so important to us.”
Fabinho also confessed to Liverpool’s official website that he ‘missed playing in midfield a little bit’.
Despite looking more stable at the back, Liverpool were wasteful in front of goal for the first 70 minutes of the game. They could have easily been two or three up by the time Mohamed Salah finally made the breakthrough late on.
It was not a perfect performance, and Klopp confessed that Liverpool still do not look good enough to compete for Champions League glory this season.
“The only reason you play in the Champions League is to win but we are not silly,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live. “We will wait and see what is possible and we wait for the draw. It will be tough whoever we get.
“We are [dangerous opponents] but it is nothing really. I don’t want to create headlines about our hopes.
“We didn’t have momentum in the Premier League but we have games to get that back and that would help us in the Champions League.”