Fabinho Tried To Copy Virgil Van Dijk's Style After Defender's WhatsApp Message Of Support
The Brazilian was given the unenviable task of replacing the injured Van Dijk in last night's Champions League Group D clash but he duly delivered alongside Joe Gomez, initiating five of Liverpool's nine counter-attacks against Erik ten Hag's side.
Fabinho vs Ajax:- LFC Stats (@LFCData) October 21, 2020
• 84% passing
• 41/49 passes
• 3/4 aerial duels
• 4/4 tackles
• 9 clearances
• 4 interceptions
• Not dribbled past
• Clean sheet
• Goal line clearance
It was a sublime performance both offensively and defensively from the ever-reliable Fabinho and after the full-time whistle, he opened up about the trait he tried to take from Van Dijk's game.
"Tactically, I have to be always ready for the long balls and try to organise the team." Liverpool's number three told ViaPlay Fotball.
"It's not easy but I have to do what Virgil always does - talk to the team. I have to try and be a leader. Of course, I'm not Virgil but I will do my best.
"While it's very important to keep the clean sheet for the confidence of the team, that's very good.
"The manager said to me I have to talk more to the team and organise them, so I tried to do this role."
Fabinho: "When I heard Virgil was out for a long time, it was a little bit of a shock. First of all, I think he's the best defender in the world. And he's a leader of the team." :clap:pic.twitter.com/ouFfmzHL7d- Anfield Watch (@AnfieldWatch) October 21, 2020
Fabinho also admitted he was in a state of shock following his teammates injury in the Merseyside derby last weekend.
"Personally, when I heard that Virgil was out for a long time, I was in a bit of a shock. First of all, I think he's the best defender in the world right now and he's a leader of the team.
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"In the dressing room, he always keeps the good mood and atmosphere.
"Of course, we will miss this but we have to keep going and try to do the best to win the games for him. "We have Thiago, Alisson and Joel [Matip] missing as well but they are trying to recover as quickly we possible.
"We have to try and win every game."
"He could have easily been sent off."- Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 17, 2020
"I'm very surprised it's just been forgotten about?"
Jordan Pickford's challenge on Virgil van Dijk did not look good :grimacing:
Should VAR have stepped in after this? pic.twitter.com/wTcW6CHcIf
Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum revealed after the full-time whistle that Van Dijk sent his teammates a message on WhatsApp ahead of kick-off.
"He wished us good luck in the group chat on WhatsApp." the Dutch midfielder said.
"For me, I don't think it's really the right time to speak to Virgil about football because football is not that important.
"I think for him and for me when we speak with each other, the most important thing is his personal life, his rehab and those things."
Wijnaldum also praised Fabinho's versatility after the win, even suggesting it looked like the Brazilian had played their "his whole life."
"Fabinho does great as a centre back," he continued.
"I think in the games that he's played there we didn't concede goals. And also the way how he's playing is like he's [been] playing there his whole life.
"It's great to have a player who can play in different positions. He does it well in all of them he plays, so it's a good thing for the team."
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