Fabinho de­lights Klopp with his de­fen­sive dis­play

Bristol Post - - SPORT -

JUR­GEN Klopp be­lieves Fabinho has proved him­self a gen­uine op­tion at cen­tre-back for Liver­pool after his im­pres­sive stand-in per­for­mance at Brighton.

The Brazil mid­fielder was pressed into ser­vice as an emer­gency cen­tral de­fender at the Amex Sta­dium on Satur­day, but pro­duced an as­sured dis­play as the Reds pre­vailed 1-0.

Liver­pool re­turned to win­ning ways to strengthen their po­si­tion at the top of the ta­ble after their re­cent de­feats to Manch­ester City in the Premier League and Wolves in the FA Cup.

Fabinho even pro­duced a match­sav­ing block from Pas­cal Gross as Mo­hamed Salah’s penalty proved de­ci­sive on the south coast, leav­ing man­ager Klopp de­lighted with his show­ing.

Asked if Fabinho could play in de­fence again if needed, Klopp replied: “He is a bril­liant player and I am happy that he can play (against Brighton) - it’s now pretty clear (that he can play in de­fence).

“It’s not like it came one at­tack after the other from Brighton. We had the ball most of the time, so then it makes sense to have a good foot­baller in that po­si­tion.

“I think Brighton tried a lit­tle bit to bring the long balls and (Glenn) Mur­ray around him. That’s what they did, by the way, against Joe Gomez in the home game as well.

“He did well in these sit­u­a­tions and with the ball it’s ab­so­lutely clear. He has a de­fend­ing brain and can do it in dif­fer­ent po­si­tions, it’s good.”

Eng­land full-back Trent Alexan­der-Arnold suf­fered an in­jury scare in the warm-up at Brighton, step­ping on the ball.

Klopp con­firmed the 20-year-old picked up an an­kle con­cern, but he re­mains hope­ful he will not to lose the tal­ented right-back for any fu­ture fix­tures.

“The last sit­u­a­tion warm­ing up, I think he stepped on the ball, I didn’t see the sit­u­a­tion, I only saw him go­ing down,” said Klopp.

“Trent on the ground - he’s a hard boy so that’s not a good sign and the doc came, some­thing with the an­kle.

“And it was pretty painful. He made the sprints, but I didn’t like the way he did the sprints be­cause when he slowed down, I thought it looked a bit like limp­ing.

“In the dress­ing room, he told me the pain is away, then doc made a lit­tle treat­ment, made a strap­ping, go out.

“I don’t know ex­actly what it was and I hope it will not take long, that he doesn’t feel it any more.”

Brighton boss Chris Hughton said he was frus­trated that his side had come away empty-handed de­spite de­liv­er­ing a reg­i­mented per­for­mance.

“We re­stricted them to min­i­mal chances and our dis­ci­pline was re­ally good,” said Hughton.

“On the bal­ance of play I thought we de­served to get some­thing from it.

“We went for it in the lat­ter part of the game and showed a real in­tent to get back on level terms.

“And I thought we de­served to get some­thing.”

Pic­ture: Gareth Fuller/PA

Liver­pool’s Fabinho,left, and Brighton & Hove Al­bion’s Glenn Mur­ray bat­tle for the ball at the AMEX Sta­dium on Satur­day

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