Jürgen Klopp lauds the outstanding Fabinho following sublime makeshift defensive performance
(Getty Images - Bryn Lennon)

Jürgen Klopp lauds the outstanding Fabinho following sublime makeshift defensive performance

Fabinho was impenetrable for the Reds as Liverpool overcame a tough test at the Amex to register their first win of 2019.

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Joshua Kerr

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has lauded the performance and ability of the versatile yet outstanding Fabinho who gave up his usual midfield duties to stand out in a defensive masterclass in the Reds 1-0 win over Brighton on Saturday.

The Brazilian international had recently grown in stature in his midfield role following his initial turbulent months on Merseyside and the former Monaco man has recently shone under Klopp to further harness his versatility in this already impressive squad.

Fabinho controlled the tempo of the match alongside the imperious Virgil van Dijk who made his 50th appearance for the Reds alongside the 25-year-old makeshift defender. 

After impressing in his inaugural showing at centre-back in the FA Cup at Wolves, Klopp opted to deploy the Reds midfielder in the heart of defence as Liverpool held out to secure their 13th clean sheet of the season.

After being deployed alongside a 16-year-old debutant at Molineux, Fabinho was posed a different test as he started alongside the worlds most expensive defender Van Dijk. 

The duo were impenetrable to keep Brighton at bay and restrict the hosts to zero shots on target as both Reds defenders commanded their troops to the team's 18th league win of the campaign.

The £40 million signing from Ligue 1 positioned himself countless of times to thwart counter-attacks and consistently clear away danger as the Brazilian continued to frustrate the Seagulls.

Speaking in his post-match press-conference Klopp could not help but hail his newborn defender following Liverpool's hard-fought victory.

"Fabinho is a brilliant player,” Klopp lauded. "To have a good footballer in that position when you have the ball is great.

"He has a defending brain and can do that in different positions.

“It was not one attack after another, we had the ball most of the time.

“But Brighton tried to bring the long balls around Glenn Murray, like with Joe Gomez in the home game - but he did well in these situations as well.

“He has a defensive brain and can play in a lot of positions.”

Klopp delighted as Reds Marshall to first victory of 2019

Klopp went on to detail what pleased him most with Liverpool's performance on the South Coast as the Reds put two recent successive defeats to bed to rally his team to victory.

The German manager admitted is was by no means their "best performance of the season" as Liverpool had to dig deep to get their first victory of the calendar year.

In a period where results topple performances, it was a hard fought contest as the home side sat deep and looked to frustrate the visitors leaving Liverpool to be patient and pray on a moment of quality from their star-studded list of players.

The first period saw Liverpool completely dominate ball retention with 77 per cent possession despite failing to get a shot on target in the opening 45.

Their patience was rewarded five minutes into the second half when Mohamed Salah toyed with Pascal Gross before being hauled down and emphatically converted his spot-kick into the right-hand corner to take his goal tally to 17 in all competitions.

Liverpool's 51-year-old manager hailed the teams maturity to patiently see out the game labelling the performance as "the most mature of the season".

“We are not the Harlem Globetrotters, we have to deliver results,” he later remarked.

“It's difficult enough but for that we need to perform.

“The performance was good. It was not the best performance of the season in a few parts.

“But from a maturity point of view, I would say it was the most mature performance of the season. It's so important.

 

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