'Fabinho was man of the match' - Van Dijk hails Liverpool team-mate for keeping Werner at bay during Chelsea win

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Fabinho Liverpool
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The Dutchman was full of praise for the stand-in centre-back after the Reds made it two wins from two at the start of the new season

Virgil van Dijk has hailed Fabinho for keeping Timo Werner at bay during Liverpool's win at Chelsea on Sunday.

Liverpool silenced their doubters after an unconvincing win over newly-promoted Leeds United on the opening weekend of the 2020-21 campaign by securing a comfortable victory over the Blues at Stamford Bridge.

A second-half double from Sadio Mane saw Jurgen Klopp's side run out 2-0 winners against Chelsea, with Frank Lampard's side reduced to 10 men when Andreas Christensen was sent off for a professional foul just before half-time.

Fabinho was asked to take up a centre-back role alongside Van Dijk in the absence of both Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, and the Brazilian midfielder produced a stellar display to minimise the threat of Werner and Co.

Werner, who is still on the lookout for his first goal for Chelsea since completing a £47.5 million ($61m) switch from RB Leipzig in June, did his best to try and force the issue in the final third, but was ultimately unable to find a way through the Reds' stubborn rearguard.

Van Dijk talked up Fabinho's defensive contribution post-match, but also warned that Liverpool will need a fully-fit squad to boost their chances of a successful title defence this season.

Asked to assess his team-mate's latest performance, the Netherlands international told Liverpool's official website: "Outstanding.

“I just told him as well I think he was man of the match. To keep out a striker like [Timo] Werner and don’t let him score, overall he was outstanding.

“Everyone knows how good he is but it shows also that we need everyone. We are a bit unlucky with the injuries now but we’ll need everyone back because it’s such a long season.”

Chelsea had the chance to set up a tense end to proceedings at Stamford Bridge when new Liverpool signing Thiago Alcantara gave away a penalty midway through the second period, but Alisson kept out Jorginho's spot-kick.

The Blues were otherwise unable to carve out any clear-cut chances against the reigning Premier League champions, and Van Dijk was pleased with the way the Reds were able to control the game.

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“It was always going to be tough, no matter the circumstances, no matter how they play or who was playing,” he added.

“It was a good performance overall. It’s not nice to give a penalty away and it was bit unlucky from Thiago, I think. But overall we dominated.

“Obviously the red card helps a little bit, we can’t deny that, but even before that we created moments of danger and we were very concentrated and very ready to get the good result.”

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