Fabinho returns from injury to claim a place in Liverpool's starting XI against Chelsea on Thursday. 

A muscle injury has kept the Brazilian sidelined since the home defeat to Manchester City in early February, but he is back at the heart of a defence that also features January signing Ozan Kabak. 

Fabinho is joined in the team by fellow Brazilian Alisson, who missed the weekend win over Sheffield United following the death of his father. 

Liverpool have also received a further boost in the return of Diogo Jota to the squad. 

The Portuguese forward has been out since sustaining a knee injury in mid-December and saw his comeback further delayed by illness on Sunday. 

However, he has the chance to make an impact from the bench against Thomas Tuchel's side at Anfield. 

As for Chelsea, they make three changes to the side that earned a 0-0 draw against Manchester United last time out. 

Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mateo Kovacic and Olivier Giroud make way, with Reece James, Jorginho and Timo Werner their replacements. 

Alisson and Fabinho are back in contention for Liverpool ahead of Thursday's clash with Chelsea, and Diogo Jota could potentially return if he manages to shake off an illness.

Brazil international goalkeeper Alisson missed the 2-0 weekend win at Sheffield United following the death of his father, with Adrian deputising at Bramall Lane.

It was not immediately clear how long Alisson would be absent for, but Klopp confirmed on Wednesday that he has trained all week and is in line to face Chelsea at Anfield.

Alisson's international colleague Fabinho has also been out lately, missing each of Liverpool's previous four matches across all competitions due to a muscular injury.

He will return to the squad as well on Thursday, though Klopp was a little less certain regarding Jota, who has not played since damaging knee ligaments in December.

However, the doubt surrounding the former Wolves star only relates to a stomach complaint, rather than a setback with his knee.

"Ali trained full week, so yes, we should expect he is ready to return," Klopp told reporters. "Fab has now five or six sessions in his legs, we have to make a decision about how we deal with that, but he looks good, he's ready for squad for sure.

"And Diogo had now a little stomach problem, or whatever you can say. He trained yesterday only a little bit – he was only out there for the warm-up, rondo and a little run, so…

"We got the message this morning that he feels better so we'll see what we can do with that. Before, he was doing exceptionally well but unfortunately got ill overnight and now we have to see how big the steps are that he can make towards the team again."

Fabinho has played much of the season away from his natural role in midfield, instead filling in as a centre-back such has been Liverpool's struggle with injuries.

Klopp was unsure whether he will be required at centre-back again, though he made no secret of how important he felt it would be to restore some familiarity to the midfield.

"Both [Fabinho in defence and midfield] is possible, which is good, it gives us options," he said. "If we can find a way to play him in midfield, that would be helpful.

"Our most consistent player this season is probably [Georginio] Wijnaldum, touch wood and long may it continue. He's played as a number six and pretty much all other positions, but with Fab in as a six would be helpful in some games. We will see. Both positions are intense.

In the past we had to play the players when they came back immediately because another player left pitch injured the game before, this time we don't have to do that.

"That's the first time, maybe. There's still a lot of games to come, so we'll see - is Fab close enough to start or is he only ready for the bench? Then which positions. These decisions are still to be made, though even if I had made them already, I wouldn't tell you exactly what my decision was."

Naby Keita may make his Liverpool return in Saturday's Merseyside derby but Fabinho remains absent against Everton.

Guinea midfielder Keita has not featured since the Reds' 7-0 mauling of Crystal Palace on December 19 due to an ankle injury but was back in training this week.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will take another check on Keita before the meeting with the Toffees at Anfield, though the German confirmed Fabinho – who missed the Premier League loss to Leicester City and Champions League win over RB Leipzig with a muscular issue – will sit out again, meaning captain Jordan Henderson is likely to partner Ozan Kabak once more in defence.

"Naby trained yesterday with the team, so we have to see what we make of it," Klopp told a news conference.

"Fab was not in training, all the others not as well. Nothing new.

"They all get closer – Fab gets closer, Millie [James Milner] gets closer and Diogo [Jota] gets closer, but not close enough for the weekend."

Klopp explained Keita could have been in contention to face former club Leipzig in midweek, a Champions League last-16 first-leg match played in Budapest that Liverpool won 2-0, only for illness to interrupt his recovery.

"Naby could have been in the squad against Leipzig, but it didn't make sense because he'd only trained two days with the team. So, we said stay at home, train two days of proper training sessions, but unfortunately Naby got ill a little bit and couldn't train these two days," he added.

"Yesterday we reintegrated him again. I just don't know, but we don't hold him back or whatever. Of course, after the injuries he had, we don't want to force him in or something like that, but it would be nice to have him.

"Is he able to play a few minutes on Saturday? I don't know. If he's not, if we speak about it and it's better to rather not play a few minutes then it is better to stay away from the team and just train proper, proper.

"Being around, on the bench, are not the most intense things and he needs to get used to the intensity again. No decision made yet, but he is not injured anymore and now we have to figure out how fit he is to play how many minutes."

Jurgen Klopp promised Alisson has the full support of Liverpool's dressing room as he backed the goalkeeper to bounce back from his Manchester City nightmare.

The Reds boss also revealed that Fabinho has suffered an injury blow, ruling the midfielder turned stand-in centre-back out of Saturday's trip to Leicester City.

In his tale of two Brazilians, Klopp said he had taken Alisson aside this week to check on the shot-stopper after his error-plagued performance in Sunday's 4-1 defeat to Pep Guardiola's men at Anfield.

Two poor clearances with his feet presented City with chances from which they ruthlessly capitalised, and now Liverpool are 10 points adrift in the Premier League title race, the champions' hopes of a successful defence seemingly in tatters.

Klopp said: "We had of course a little talk. If it was about encouragement or what, I don't know. It's just a little talk.

"He was not happy that it happened, of course, but it's very important in a moment like this to realise in a long career goalkeepers make mistakes.

"For a goalkeeper of the quality of Alisson Becker it's pretty rare that he makes this kind of mistakes, and that he makes two of them in one game, that's clear as well.

"But goalkeepers are used to making mistakes. It means they have to stay in a game. They concede a goal and they know earlier than maybe all the rest of the world – 'I should have saved it' – and have to deal with that always.

"He has just a few days in between the City game and this game and there was absolutely no real criticism from our side, from the boys, the players around him, because everybody knows how good he is.

"He is a very calm person and now the next game is coming up and he can play his normal level again, then everything will be fine."

Klopp said Fabinho had a "little muscle issue" that rules him out of contention for the King Power Stadium clash with a Leicester side who sit three points above Liverpool in the table.

Ozan Kabak, on loan from Schalke, could be an option to replace Fabinho at centre-back, but Klopp would not be drawn on who would figure in his defence.

He said Liverpool must "fight through a situation like this because nobody will help you", and pointed to the threats posed by Leicester's Jamie Vardy and Harvey Barnes.

The German boss described fast-improving winger Barnes as "one of the biggest talents ... an unbelievable player".

Klopp must also know Vardy will relish facing a defence that has looked as vulnerable as Liverpool's in recent times.

"Jamie's obviously a proper challenge in this league, the way he plays and the way he gets set up by his mates," Klopp said.

He said taming Vardy would require a collective effort.

"That's a proper job to do, but you only can do it always with the whole team," Klopp said.

"Jamie's a world-class player for sure in a specific area of the pitch and with his speed that's really tricky."


What have Liverpool got to worry about?

In many senses, Klopp should be relishing this trip. Liverpool have won on their last three Premier League visits to Leicester, who this season have already lost five Premier League home games – one more than in the whole of the last campaign.

Leicester have plenty of incentive, however, not least wanting to avoid losing four consecutive home top-flight matches to a specific opponent since a run of five defeats between 1999 and 2003 against Manchester United.

Liverpool are in a worrying dip, and a trip to a top-four rival comes at a time when West Ham, Chelsea and even Everton are rivalling them for a spot in the Champions League places.

Klopp's men will be seeking to avoid a third successive league defeat this month after losing at home to Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City. They last lost three games in a row in the Premier League in November 2014, when current Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers was in charge of the Reds.

Liverpool have received a triple fitness boost for their clash with Manchester City as Sadio Mane, Alisson Becker and Fabinho return from injury to start.

Fabinho is back following a three-game absence necessitated by a muscle issue, while Mane returns after a similar problem forced him to miss the Reds' last two fixtures.

Alisson, meanwhile, is back in goal after illness kept him out of the midweek defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield.

That trio's availability accounts for three of the hosts' four changes, with 20-year-old midfielder Curtis Jones replacing the experienced James Milner the other.

Manchester City, meanwhile, make two changes to the starting XI that beat Burnley in midweek, with Pep Guardiola opting against naming a recognised striker as Gabriel Jesus drops out for Phil Foden.

At the back, Aymeric Laporte makes way, with Oleksandr Zinchenko his replacement.

 

Liverpool suffered another injury blow as Fabinho was ruled out of Thursday's Premier League clash at Tottenham but captain Jordan Henderson returned.

Fabinho has moved back from midfield into the heart of the champions' defence impressively with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez long-term absentees, but the Brazil international missed out against Spurs due to a minor muscle issue.

Henderson sat out the shock home defeat to Burnley and the FA Cup fourth-round loss at Manchester United last week, but the skipper returned to fill in at centre-back again alongside Joel Matip.

James Milner lined up for his 550th Premier League appearance at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Sadio Mane returning to the starting line-up as the Reds looked to end a five-match winless run in the top flight.

Tottenham were without Sergio Reguilon due to a muscle injury, so Matt Doherty came into the side in the only change from their last Premier League game at Sheffield United.

Fabinho insisted Mohamed Salah was "very happy" at Liverpool amid speculation over the star forward's future.

Salah sparked talk about his future after refusing to rule out a move to LaLiga champions Real Madrid or Barcelona in an interview with Diario AS last month.

Fabinho said the speculation about Salah was normal, the Brazil international adding the forward was happy at Anfield.

"Big players will always have their names involved in rumours. Salah plays for Liverpool, one of the biggest teams in the world. I think it's normal to see his name linked to other teams, especially from different leagues," he told ESPN Brasil on Tuesday.

"Anyway, I see him very happy here and pleased with his performances this season. He's very demanding with himself, he wants to be the best, he wants to help the team and works hard for it.

"It's always been the case and it hasn't changed at all. He keeps scoring goals, which everyone is used to seeing. In the changing room he's always talking to everyone and making jokes.

"I don't see anything affecting him. Overall, I am not following the news so I'm not sure about any rumours. As I said, top quality players will always be linked to big clubs."

Premier League holders Liverpool have struggled for consistency so far this season and Manchester United's win over Burnley on Tuesday sent the Red Devils three points clear of their rivals.

But Fabinho said Jurgen Klopp's side, who host United on Sunday, were concentrating on themselves.

"They are definitely confident and enjoying a good momentum in the league. They are winning some games that perhaps they weren't last season, such as against Wolves," he said.

"However, our focus isn't exclusively on Manchester United. The main thing is trying to play our football and winning games."

Trent Alexander-Arnold will be a future Liverpool captain and "the face of this club", but Jurgen Klopp did not hand him the armband at Midtjylland for his leadership skills.

Academy graduate Alexander-Arnold skippered the Reds for the first time in the 1-1 Champions League draw in midweek as regular captain Jordan Henderson started from the bench.

It was the latest landmark occasion for the England right-back, who joined Liverpool aged six and made his first-team debut in 2016.

Alexander-Arnold has since played 102 Premier League matches, scoring six goals and providing 27 assists from 174 chances created.

Since his top-flight bow, no defender in the competition has forged more opportunities for team-mates, while only Liverpool colleague Andy Robertson (33) has laid on more assists.

The 22-year-old's appearance in Denmark was his 32nd in the Champions League and this longevity gave Klopp a "logical" decision when naming his captain - a role Alexander-Arnold is set to become used to when Henderson retires.

Klopp explained: "German and English people are really similar - we have a few differences. But how you see the captaincy here in this country is completely different to Germany.

"I try to understand it, even though I spent the most time educated a different way. Being a captain, it's not so important who wears the armband, it's more important how you behave all around.

"And yes, Trent is somebody who will be in this kind of role in the future. All the younger boys in the team have a similar pathway to his pathway, 100 per cent.

"The reason [he was captain]? I didn't think he was the best leader in the line-up of the last game, he's the longest in the club. When the players come, the four captains, it's clear that it's not even a decision, it's Trent.

"When I told him, it means a lot to him - that's cool and it will be his role in the future when other people have finished their careers and stuff like this.

"He prepares himself already for this. He will be in the future the face of this club, with some others hopefully, one of the faces of this club. That's really nice.

"When I realised how much it meant to him, I was really happy. I made the decision, but the decision was a logical one because of the time he was in the club."

Alexander-Arnold's defensive colleague Virgil van Dijk would certainly be considered a leader, but Klopp says he has not asked the injured centre-back to offer advice to his deputies - including versatile midfielder Fabinho.

Liverpool have not lost any of the six league games Van Dijk has missed this season, earning more points (2.3) and conceding fewer goals (0.7) per game in his absence than with the former Southampton man involved (2.0 and 2.6 respectively).

"Virgil was the first few weeks after he got injured not in a situation to talk to people and to tell them how to play the centre-half position," the manager said.

"Now he is back here and it's all different and he's fine. He was around the last game against Wolves, which was really nice.

"Now the boys speak to each other, but what they speak about to each other, I don't know, you'll have to ask them.

"But I didn't ask Virg to explain to the other guys the centre-half position. So far that's my job and we did that as good as we could."

In fact, Klopp suggested with a smile his own vocal approach might have played a role in convincing Fabinho to join the club in 2018.

"I couldn't tell you what I said to him, because it's too long ago," he said. "But it was obviously convincing enough, so it came together.

"I remember actually - I have to picture in my mind when I met him first - a pretty shy boy.

"Maybe he thought it would be the best to be around a pretty vocal, loud manager. That might have been the reason why he joined us."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claimed Mohamed Salah will have felt "social pressure" to attend his brother's wedding, a decision that sparked controversy after he tested positive for coronavirus.

Salah contracted COVID-19 while away on international duty with Egypt and missed his country's fixtures against Togo.

The 28-year-old was criticised after videos emerged of him dancing in a crowd of people at his brother's wedding a few days before he was due to play for Egypt.

He will miss Liverpool's Premier League clash with leaders Leicester City and his availability for their Champions League meeting with Atalanta on November 28 is also in doubt.

Salah has scored eight goals in eight Premier League appearances for Liverpool this season.

Klopp confirmed he had spoken to Salah about the issue but refused to discuss what internal action Liverpool had taken against the player.

"A brother's wedding is a very special moment," Klopp told a media conference on Friday.

"In other countries, in other situations, there's more social, I'm not sure if it's the word but, pressure, and stuff.

"He's probably back today. We are obviously in close contact with him all the time.

"How it always is in these cases is that when you have a negative test the process really starts. He's in a good place. He feels well. No symptoms.

"There is nothing to say in public about it. I have talked to my players about it. Nothing for the public. We are in the situation we are in.

"The rest is between Mo and me. We did that [talk] already and we are fine.

"What I can say about my players is they are incredibly disciplined. Football players in general are very disciplined."

Salah's absence with the virus added to Liverpool's ever-lengthening list of missing players as Klopp lost more key men to injury during the international break.

The most significant was Joe Gomez, who underwent surgery after he sustained a serious knee injury while on England duty.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, meanwhile, felt "a bit of tightness", according to England coach Gareth Southgate and Klopp said he will not be fit to face the Foxes on Sunday.

Virgil van Dijk is a long-term injury absence with a knee issue, while fellow defender Trent Alexander-Arnold is still nursing a hamstring problem.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still continuing his rehab from a knee injury, but midfielders Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara are edging nearer to a return to fitness.

Klopp added: "They [Thiago and Fabinho] are all closer, but we’ll see if it's close enough for the weekend."

The Reds boss remains hopeful Liverpool's injury problems can help foster a sense of esprit de corps among his players.

He said: "We are a unit. A proper, proper unit. The more problems we have, the closer we stick together. 

"We don't go for excuses, we have the situation we have, we don't like the injuries we have because it is really hard for the boys who have the injuries, but all the rest is working on solutions. That's what we always do.

"We have solutions in our mind. Maybe we think we have the worst situation possible, but the season is long and we have only played eight games, so there will be a lot of problems.

"I have always said, whoever deals best with the problems in front of them has a chance to be really successful. That’s what we try to be."

Erling Haaland is reportedly being lined up as a target for Real Madrid in 2022, while Manchester United are eyeing Mauricio Pochettino.

Haaland, 20, is widely regarded as one of the best forwards in Europe as he continues to star for Borussia Dortmund.

Madrid have plans for the Norway international.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID EYE HAALAND IN 2022

Real Madrid are convinced Dortmund star Haaland is their man in 2022, according to AS.

Haaland has scored 10 goals in 10 games in all competitions for Dortmund this season.

The former Salzburg talent, Mino Raiola - his agent - and Dortmund reportedly have an agreement that a transfer away from BVB will be facilitated in 2022, though there is not thought to be a specific fee in mind yet.

Haaland has begun 2020-21 in fine form having netted five goals in as many Bundesliga games, picking up where he left off last term as he scored 13 in 15 league matches for Dortmund.

While early in the campaign, Haaland's shot conversion rate – excluding blocks – in the league this season (31.3 per cent) is lower than last term (52), but his big chance conversion is slightly higher (from 62.5 per cent to 66.7).

Seemingly flowing with confidence from last season, Haaland is averaging more shots in 2020-21 as well. Per 90 minutes, the striker is attempting 3.7 attempts from inside the box (including blocks) compared to 2.8 in 2019-20.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under pressure, Manchester United have approached former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to potentially become manager, according to the Manchester Evening News. United are 15th in the Premier League ahead of visiting Everton on Saturday.

- In good news for Barcelona, Sport reports goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is completely committed to the Spanish giants amid links to Bayern Munich. Mundo Deportivo, meanwhile, says Barca could sign Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and Lyon star Memphis Depay for free next year, allowing them to potentially negotiate lower fees in January.

- Amid expectations he will leave Bayern Munich, David Alaba has been offered to Real Madrid, according to Marca. The defender is out of contract at season's end.

- Staying with Madrid – full-back Dani Carvajal is close to agreeing to a new contract until 2024, according to Marca.

- While he is contracted at Liverpool until 2023, Fabinho could be set for a renewal. Fabrizio Romano reports the midfielder is in talks to extend his deal through to 2025.

Liverpool midfielder Fabinho has been ruled out of Brazil's upcoming World Cup qualifiers, replaced in their squad by Allan.

Fabinho, used at centre-back by Jurgen Klopp with Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip sidelined, suffered a hamstring injury in Liverpool's 2-0 Champions League win over Midtjylland on Tuesday.

The 27-year-old will miss Brazil's qualifiers against Venezuela and Uruguay next month, it was confirmed on Thursday.

Everton midfielder Allan, who has played nine games for Brazil, has replaced Fabinho in Brazil's squad.

"The technical team of the Brazilian team called for midfielder Allan, from Everton, England, for the next two rounds of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers," a statement from the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) read.

"The player was linked to the place of Liverpool's Fabinho, who was recalled due to muscle damage to his right thigh."

Brazil are top in CONMEBOL qualifying after winning their opening two matches ahead of meeting Venezuela on November 13.

Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho will not return to fitness before the November international break, according to the Brazil national team.

Coutinho suffered a hamstring injury in Saturday's defeat to Real Madrid despite completing the full game at Camp Nou.

Barca said a timescale for the former Liverpool man's return "depends on how the injury evolves", but Brazil's doctors have also now assessed the player.

Doctor Rodrigo Lasmar believes "there is not enough time for the recovery of the player for his participation in the next two rounds of [2022 World Cup] qualifiers", a statement read.

Brazil have therefore called up Lyon's Lucas Paqueta in his place for the fixtures against Venezuela and Uruguay on November 13 and 17.

Should Coutinho be available for Barca again following the break, he would make his return against Atletico Madrid almost a month on from the initial issue.

Coutinho is set to be joined in missing Brazil's qualifiers by Liverpool's Fabinho.

The midfielder, who has been playing in defence for the Reds since Virgil van Dijk's injury, sustained a hamstring problem in Tuesday's Champions League win over Midtjylland.

Liverpool were waiting for a scan on the injury on Wednesday, but Jurgen Klopp suggested Fabinho's absence would not represent a major blow for Brazil, as he has earned just 12 caps for his country and started on five occasions.

"I'm not sure if Tite's too worried because he plays him never, so he will probably now not sit on the bench for the next [two] international games," Klopp said.

Liverpool's defensive problems continue to grow after Jurgen Klopp confirmed Fabinho suffered a hamstring injury in the 2-0 Champions League win over Midtjylland on Tuesday.

Brazil midfielder Fabinho – filling in at centre-back due to the absence of Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip – pulled up while tracking back in the Group D fixture and went to ground shortly before being treated by Liverpool's medical staff.

He was replaced by youngster Rhys Williams in the 30th minute as Diogo Jota, whose effort brought up Liverpool's 10,000th goal in all competitions, and Mohamed Salah scored to secure a hard-fought win over the Danish side at Anfield.

Klopp is already without key player Van Dijk after the Netherlands star suffered a serious knee injury in the Merseyside derby against Everton earlier this month, and the Reds' boss is unsure over the severity of Fabinho's problem.

"Exactly the last thing we needed. I don't know, he felt his hamstring so that's not good," Klopp told BT Sport.

"He didn't feel it that much, he said he could've played on but not sprinting so that doesn't help. We will see, we will have to do a scan and see but clearly it's not good."

Klopp also withdrew captain Jordan Henderson at half-time, but revealed the switch was not related to injury.

"We had to make the change at half time with Hendo – he said he was fine but in these moments you have to be responsible and the plan before the game was to give him around 45 minutes so he would be okay for West Ham [on Saturday]."

It had been expected that Matip, who has not featured since the Merseyside derby, would be fit to return against West Ham, but Klopp could not make any assurances. 

"I don't know, we have to see," he said in his post-match news conference.

"Look, if it would be only one game we play, if it was the last game of the season, I think we could make him fit for one game – but we play three days later again and we need players again."

Should youngster Williams be called upon against West Ham, he will at least go into the match on the back of a solid showing alongside Joe Gomez.

Williams made one tackle, one interception and gained possession three times during his 67 minutes on the pitch against Midtjylland, though the Hammers would be likely to provide a much tougher test.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praised Fabinho's performance against Ajax, while insisting he was unsurprised by the Brazilian's display.

With Virgil van Dijk sidelined due to a serious knee injury, Fabinho started at centre-back alongside Joe Gomez as Liverpool opened their Champions League campaign with a 1-0 win in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

As well as producing a goal-line clearance to deny Dusan Tadic, Fabinho had four tackles, nine clearances and four interceptions.

Klopp was pleased with the Brazil international as Nicolas Tagliafico's first-half own goal proved to be enough for Liverpool in Group D.

"This combination with Joey and Fabinho, I don't think they played together before if I'm 100 per cent right. Maybe once but I don't really know," he told a news conference.

"So they need to get used to each other, they need to get used to the verbal demands in that position – what you have to say there to help the midfielders and all these kind of things.

"It was a really good performance but there's a lot to improve – how high or how low is the last line in which moment, in protection situations, in the pressing, 'How do we react there?' But it's no problem. It was absolutely good and now we carry on."

With Van Dijk set to miss most, if not the remainder, of the rest of the season, Fabinho will play a key role for Premier League champions Liverpool.

Klopp, whose team host Sheffield United in the Premier League on Saturday, said while the 26-year-old's performance was a boost, he was unsurprised.

"Look, in our situation it helps. Of course, was there pressure on the situation? Yes, it's clear for the two in the back there, 100 per cent. First game together," he said.

"Fabinho can play the position, he likes playing it actually. If I would have asked him to play right-back I don't think he would enjoy it as much as he's enjoying the centre-half position. In our situation in the moment we have to keep those boys fit and then they can of course help us a lot. I'm not surprised he plays well in the position otherwise we would have thought about a different solution, even when that would have been properly tricky.

"I'm really pleased for tonight, pleased for him, yes it gave him confidence, for sure helped us. These situations [goal-line clearances], Millie [James Milner] had last season one against Bournemouth, which was a massive one. That tonight was a massive one. And so he had not only because of this a big hand in this victory."

Fabinho was "a monster" in Liverpool's 2-0 Premier League win over Chelsea on Sunday, according to Alisson.

With Joe Gomez and Joel Matip injured, Fabinho moved into the centre of defence alongside Virgil van Dijk and was on song at Stamford Bridge, with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp describing his display as "outstanding".

The Brazilian was key to helping the visitors keep a clean sheet that was preserved by compatriot Alisson saving Jorginho's penalty.

While Sadio Mane scored a double, it was Fabinho's work at the other end in keeping Chelsea newcomers Timo Werner and Kai Havertz quiet that most impressed Alisson.

"He was a monster," Alisson told the club's official website. "Unbelievable, but it's what I expect of him.

"If it's a surprise for you I would be surprised, because he is a top player. Anywhere he played, from number six or centre-back, he always does his best and his quality permits him to play in different positions.

"He's a really smart player on movements and also one-v-ones. That was needed against Werner, against Havertz and the other players with really good quality, so I congratulate him as he was in my opinion man of the match."

The game in west London proved to be a far more straightforward outing than Liverpool's season opener against newly promoted Leeds United, in which Klopp's men left it late to secure a dramatic 4-3 win at Anfield.

It means the Reds have kicked off their title defence with back-to-back victories, with Arsenal their next opponents in the top flight on Monday.

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