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It's clear Fabinho can play in central defence, says Reds boss Klopp

It's clear Fabinho can play in central defence, says Reds boss Klopp
© Reuters
The Brazilian looked assured alongside Virgil Van Dijk in the hard-fought win over Brighton.

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, 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 defeats to Manchester City in the Premier League and Wolves in the FA Cup.

Fabinho even produced a match-saving 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."

Brighton and Hove Albion v Liverpool – Premier League – AMEX Stadium
Fabinho stepped back into defence as Liverpool edged out Brighton 1-0 on the south coast (Gareth Fuller/PA)

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 was frustrated his side came away empty-handed despite 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."


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Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring against Wolverhampton Wanderers on December 21, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City34282487226586
2Liverpool34267177205785
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs342211164352967
4Arsenal33206766402666
5Chelsea34206857362166
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd33197763441964
7Watford34147134848049
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves34139124142-148
9Leicester CityLeicester35145164646047
10Everton34137144644246
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham35136164352-945
12Bournemouth35126174961-1242
13Crystal Palace34116174046-639
14Burnley34116174260-1839
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle34108163243-1138
16Southampton3399153954-1536
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton3497183253-2134
18Cardiff CityCardiff3494213063-3331
RFulham3556243276-4421
RHuddersfield TownHuddersfield3535271968-4914

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