Liverpool defender Fabinho has told Viaplay that Jurgen Klopp is urging him to talk more as he tries to replace Virgil van Dijk in defence.
The Reds took on Ajax on Wednesday night, and were seeking a win after a testing few days having seen Virgil van Dijk suffer a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury against Everton.
With Joel Matip also injured, Liverpool were forced into a makeshift partnership at the back as Fabinho dropped in from holding midfield to centre back alongside Joe Gomez.
Fabinho enjoyed a superb performance against Ajax, helping Liverpool keep a clean sheet as they won 1-0 thanks to Nicolas Tagliafico’s own goal.
It’s unclear whether Matip will return for this weekend’s game against Sheffield United, so Fabinho may well be the man to fill in for Van Dijk for the near future.
Fabinho has now suggested that he will do his best to fill in for Van Dijk, admitting that it’s ‘not easy’ to step up and replace one of the best defenders in the world – especially when Fabinho isn’t even a defender himself.
Fabinho added that boss Klopp has told him to communicate more at the back to simulate what Van Dijk does, and he tried to be more vocal against Ajax in order to try and play Van Dijk’s role.
“Tactically, I have to be ready for the long balls and try to organise the team,” said Fabinho. “It’s not easy but I have to do a little of what Virgil always does – talk to the team and try to be a leader. Of course I am not really but I will do my best. It was very important for me and for the team to keep the clean sheet today for confidence.”
“The manager said to me I have to talk more to the team, to try to organise the team. Sometimes, a little bit I was like “second ball”, “be ready” to try to press good. I try to be in this role as well, I try to do my best,” he added.