Liverpool midfielder Fabinho has admitted he knew for some time that he could be used as a defender amid the Reds' current injury crisis, and admitted that, while he is happy with his recent performances at centre-back, his positioning is still one aspect of his game to work on.
The Brazilian, who has played right back for his country, filled in at the heart of defence for Liverpool's 0-1 win away at Brighton, as well as the club's FA Cup defeat to Wolves, due to injuries to several stars.
Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have all suffered injuries during the packed winter schedule, leaving Virgil Van Dijk as the only fit recognised centre half in the squad. Lovren's injury even led to 16-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever making his first-team debut in the defeat to Wolves.
Jurgen Klopp praised Fabinho's performance against Brighton, and the 25-year-old could continue as an emergency centre half until players return to full fitness. Fabinho himself admitted that he is comfortable playing at the back and admitted he saw the positional switch coming.
“Some weeks ago, I knew this could be an option because we had some players out injured and we only had two centre-backs available,” Fabinho told the club's official website.
“When Dejan got injured, I knew it would be logical that I’d play in that position.
“The relationship with the coach is good, he has a different way of speaking to each player." @_fabinhotavares on Klopp's guidance, his centre-back role and how it felt to score his first Reds goal. 🔴👇— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 17, 2019
“I had some training sessions playing in that position, which helped me adapt better and pick up certain aspects, like positioning and movements you need to be natural at to play in this position. When it came to playing in a game it was a bit easier because I’d trained in the position.”
Assessing his own performance over the last two games, the former Monaco star who joined Liverpool in the summer was pleased with his own display but recognises that he can still improve on his positioning to help the team as best he can.
He continued: "I think it [the Wolves game] went well, I had a good understanding with Ki-Jana Hoever, the communication was good. Regarding positioning, I improved throughout the game in this aspect. I did well."
"And in the last game against Brighton, I think I played well. Playing alongside Van Dijk helped, he’s really vocal, he guided us. He helped me a lot. I had good communication with Trent and also with Hendo; they were the players closest to me on the pitch."
"In general, I think it was a good game. In this position, which I haven’t played in a lot, I think I adapted well. There are some aspects, such as positioning, that I need to improve on. If I were to play in this position more, I’d improve on these things, but that’s natural."
Fabinho's Liverpool next face Crystal Palace at Anfield on Saturday and the Brazilian could continue at centre-back. Although Matip's return to fitness makes him an alternative to partner Van Dijk.
Source : 90min