Liverpool’s Fabinho admits copying Virgil van Dijk trait in display vs Ajax

Liverpool star Fabinho has admitted that he copied a trait of Virgil van Dijk in his centre-back display against Ajax.

The Brazilian stepped into the European Player of the Year’s role for the first time since his injury in the Merseyside derby.

It saw fans suggest that the midfielder, who arrived from Monaco in 2018 and impressed in the back-line against Chelsea last month, should step in for van Dijk.

He stepped in to keep a clean sheet at the Johan Cruyff Aren, even pulling off a goal-line clearance on 44 minutes.

And the midfielder revealed how he took inspiration from the centre-back in one aspect to adapt his game against Ajax.

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Speaking to ViaPlay Fotball , Fabinho said: “Tactically, I have to be always ready for the long balls and try to organise the team.

“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.”

The midfielder went on to reveal how he reacted to the news of van Dijk’s ACL tear that is expected to keep out for most of the season.

Fabinho added: “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.

“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 [Alcantara], 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.”

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