Virgil van Dijk hailed what he considered a Man of the Match display by Fabinho after the Brazilian deputised at centre-back against Chelsea.

With Joe Gomez and Joel Matip ruled out of Sunday’s Premier League clash at Stamford Bridge, Fabinho dropped into central defence alongside Van Dijk.

He turned in a typically composed performance to help the Reds on their way to a 2-0 victory over the Blues – and Van Dijk paid tribute to his teammate post-match.

“Outstanding,” the Dutchman told of Fabinho, who topped his side’s totals for tackles (four), interceptions (four) and possession gains (12) on the day.

“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.”

Liverpool had been on the front foot for much of a goalless opening half in London and their pursuit of a breakthrough was aided by the red card to Andreas Christensen a minute before the interval.

Their extra man swiftly told in the second period, with Sadio Mane scoring twice in four minutes – though the Reds did require Alisson Becker to save a Jorginho penalty late on.

Van Dijk described the win as ‘massive’.

“It was always going to be tough, no matter the circumstances, no matter how they play or who was playing,” said the No.4.

“It was a good performance overall. It’s not nice to give a penalty away and it was bit unlucky from Thiago [Alcantara], 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.”