Rio Ferdinand believes the low defensive streak helped Fabinho shine for Liverpool against Ajax.
Brazilian – who is naturally a defensive midfielder – replacing injured Virgil van Dijk in Liverpool’s 1-0 Champions League victory over Ajax.
The 26-year-old was impressive alongside Joe Gomez, like Reds She kept much-needed clean sheets in Amsterdam.
In the final stages of the first half, Fabinho made a great exit to the goal line after David Neres arrested Adrian, to keep the score 1-0 after Nicolas Tagliavico’s own goal.
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The Liverpool versatile player played the center back earlier in the season in a 2–0 win over Chelsea, at the time alongside Van Dyck, With both Gomez and Joel Matip absent that day.
The former Monaco player is also back in defense after his 0-0 draw with Bayern Munich in the impressive 2018/19 UEFA Champions League season.
He now has a lot of experience in four-way defense, having played a few games as Monaco right-back, but Ferdinand – who has played in midfield – believes he needs to show it consistently this season.
With Van Dijk expected to be absent from the majority of the campaign, at least, he should have plenty of opportunities to do so.
On BT Sport, Ferdinand said: “He was probably the best player in all of those matches (center back center playing) – especially Bayern and Chelsea – he was probably the leading defender on both occasions.
“This guy is a great operator, he played right back for a long time when he was also in Monaco, so he knows how to defend.
“He will be judged over the course of the season, not on several shows at the center back, and now he has a chance to play there for a long period of time and he will have to show that on a consistent basis.
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“(In) the first half, he did two or three challenges at the edge of the penalty area to stop the attacks and he read the match well today, but it’s about it and Gomez seemed to form a partnership.”
“It’s a difficult situation,” he added. “The problem with him is that he is filling the shoes of one of the best defenders in the world, if not the best, at the moment.
“It’s tremendous pressure, not just for him but for Gomez too – he’s a true defender and he’s going to be seen and expected to lead this four-back now.
“Can he do that?” That is the question that will be asked.
“What helped him is that they are not playing that crazy offside rule, if they pull back and give him more time, the four defenders will seem more comfortable.
He has that time to take stock and see things rather than be on top with all your momentum to move forward.
“He has a better chance to show true quality in this position.”
With Matip likely to be out on a visit to Sheffield United on Saturday, Jurgen Klopp could once again choose Fabinho and Gomez.
Then for the Reds there is another Champions League clash, with Midtgeland coming to Anfield on Tuesday.