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Klopp admits “we all want Fabinho in the No. 6” after standout display vs. Leipzig

Jurgen Klopp has hinted that Fabinho could remain in his natural role after returning to midfield against RB Leipzig, with the manager saying “we all want him in the No. 6.”

Fabinho made his first start as a defensive midfielder since October as Liverpool sealed a 2-0 victory over Leipzig to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday night.

The Brazilian has been required to fill in at centre-back in the absence of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, and has done so admirably over the past four months.

But with Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak forming a partnership at the back, Klopp was able to restore Fabinho to his natural role at the base of the midfield, and was rewarded with a top-class display in Budapest.

Speaking to BT Sport after the game, Klopp joked that his No. 3 made it abundantly clear that he was back in his favourite position.

“I told him on the way downstairs, ‘you like the No. 6 position more than the other one eh?’, and he couldn’t show it more clearly!” the manager said.

“We all want Fab on the six, that’s how it is. Tonight he played there and the two centre-halves played an incredible game, to be honest.

“The whole last line played a really good game, because that’s a really tough task [against] Leipzig.”

In his post-match press conference, Klopp hailed Fabinho as the “best in the world in the No. 6 position.”

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - Wednesday, March 10, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (R) celebrates with team-mate Ozan Kabak after scoring the first goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg game between Liverpool FC and RB Leipzig at the Puskás Aréna. (Pic by Propaganda)

Klopp went into further detail about the challenge Phillips and Kabak faced against their Bundesliga opposition, and in turn how the likes of Fabinho aided them in keeping a clean sheet.

“They have runs from everywhere in behind, you have to be high but you cannot be too high, you have to be there for the high balls,” he explained.

“We had to press them, so they had to play these kinds of uncontrolled long balls.

“We did that very well in the first line, then we defended deep together, really well, which is important – not only in the Champions League, but especially. Everybody had a really good game.”

It remains to be seen whether Fabinho will remain in midfield for the visit to Wolves in the Premier League on Monday night, but provided Phillips and Kabak stay fit there is every reason to start the trio again.

Fabinho being back in his best position would be a major boost to Liverpool, as they look to salvage their season with a strong run in the Champions League.

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