Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes his untested centre-back pairing of Fabinho and Joe Gomez still have plenty to learn – but was pleased with how they performed in the 1-0 win over Ajax.
The German was forced to field an unfamiliar defence in the absence of Virgil van Dijk, who faces a lengthy spell in the sidelines following the injury he sustained in the 2-2 draw with Everton.
A Nicolas Tagliafico 35th-minute own goal decided an untidy Champions League opener in Amsterdam.
Midfielder Fabinho impressed filling the hole left by Van Dijk's long-term knee injury – hooking a Dusan Tadic lob off the goalline to keep the score at 1-0 – but he also had a positive influence on Gomez alongside him.
"Good but even Fabinho can play better," Klopp said on the performance of the Brazil international, whose partnership with Gomez was the 35th centre-back pairing used by the German.
"This combination had not played together so they need to get used to each other, the verbal commands, what you need to say to the midfield.
"Fabinho can play the position, he likes playing it actually. If I asked him to play right-back I don't think he would enjoy it as much.
"I'm not surprised Fabinho plays in the position, otherwise I would have thought about a different solution.
"It was a good performance but there is a lot to improve, that is good. It was absolutely good tonight and we'd like it to carry on.
"We are not dumb enough to think we didn't need a bit of luck as Fabinho needed to make a proper stretch to get that ball from the line and they hit the post.
"A clean sheet is one information but we could have done better. I don't care in the moment as we wanted to win the game and we have done that."
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