Versatile Fabinho showed just why Klopp was desperate to sign him

Versatile Fabinho showed just why Jurgen Klopp was desperate to secure his signature with assured defensive performance against resilient Brighton

  • Brazil international Fabinho filled in at centre back for Liverpool at Brighton 
  • Out of position, the versatile star put in a solid performance with a clean sheet 
  • Jurgen Klopp singled the player out for praise following the full-time whistle 
  • Liverpool were desperate to secure Fabinho upon Emre Can’s exit last summer 

Dominic King for The Mail on Sunday

Jurgen Klopp marched onto the pitch with purpose and began his customary post-match ritual. There were hugs and slaps on the back for all those in red, but there were two players who received special recognition.

First there was Mohamed Salah, who won and scored the penalty that re-established Liverpool’s seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League. The Egyptian was excellent, his close control and desire to keep stretching Brighton’s defence made Klopp’s most potent weapon.

Then there was Fabinho. An injury crisis had forced Klopp to field the Brazil international as a central defender, but the way he came through 90 demanding minutes at the Amex Stadium ensured his manager sought him out for special attention.

Brazil international Fabinho filled it at centre-back at Brighton and was solid for Liverpool

Brazil international Fabinho filled it at centre-back at Brighton and was solid for Liverpool

The 25-year-old held his own against Brighton's powerful centre forward Glenn Murray

The 25-year-old held his own against Brighton’s powerful centre forward Glenn Murray

Fabinho was identified as a player Liverpool wanted to sign in the summer of 2017 and when it became clear that Emre Can was not going to sign another deal, the club moved swiftly to take him from Monaco. At £43.7million, here was Liverpool’s new defensive midfielder.

He is, however, more than a one-trick pony. Fabinho plays at right-back for Brazil and having hit form as the anchor in Liverpool’s engine room, he showed why Klopp had not once considered doing a short-term deal to cover the absences of Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip.

From early on in a tense encounter, Fabinho kept catching the eye – his first contribution was a fizzing 40-yard pass that landed at the feet of the excellent Andrew Robertson – and his partnership alongside Virgil van Dijk looked natural. 

The Reds were desperate to sign him and tied a deal up with Monaco at the end of last season

The Reds were desperate to sign him and tied a deal up with Monaco at the end of last season

His biggest moment, though, was the block to thwart Pascal Gross deep in the second half that preserved Liverpool’s lead.

When Lovren and Gomez are fit again, Fabinho will move forward to a more natural role but, on the south coast, he proved his versatility and class.

‘He has a defending brain and can do that in different positions,’ Klopp enthused. For a player who had been viewed sceptically in the tough opening weeks, suddenly Fabinho has become a key man. No wonder Klopp was so keen to tell him.

A jubilant Jurgen Klopp singled out Mohamed Salah and Fabinho out for praise at full-time

A jubilant Jurgen Klopp singled out Mohamed Salah and Fabinho out for praise at full-time


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