The game was just 30 minutes old when Virgil van Dijk’s absence was laid bare. Thankfully for Liverpool, Ajax failed to score but at the back, the Reds were at sixes and sevens. The unpredictable nature of Adrian spread fear throughout the Liverpool backline and Joe Gomez looked short of confidence with several clumsy touches and wayward clearances in the face of the aggressive Ajax press.
Yet if there is one saving grace for Jurgen Klopp, it’s that he has somebody to rely on in the form of Fabinho.
The Brazilian’s fight, spirit and quality embodies the spine of this Liverpool side, who will now depend on him more than ever.
Not for the first time this season or in this competition, Fabinho dropped in at centre-back but this time in place of the absent Van Dijk as the Reds embark on the rest of their season without him.
He was the bedroom that held Liverpool together at times. Heading, tackling, battling and organising at the back.
If Van Dijk is the best centre-back in world football, Fabinho looked a close second in Amsterdam.
Not only was he resolute against the pace and power of the Ajax attack but his distribution was second to none when bringing the ball out from the back.
This was a night where Liverpool had to stand strong and pick their moments, particularly after Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino left the field on the hour mark.
All three were relatively quiet by their sky-high standards, despite Mane forcing the opener thanks to the help of Nicolas Tagliafico.
Fabinho rarely puts a foot wrong and his selflessness remains imperative if Liverpool are to win major honours this season.
Published at Wed, 21 Oct 2020 20:54:00 +0000