Liverpool’s first game since Virgil van Dijk’s serious knee injury was always going to be a nervy one for some players.
With Virgil van Dijk expected to be out for more than six months – potentially the remainder of the season – Joe Gomez and Fabinho started in central defence for Liverpool’s Champions League opening group game against Ajax on Wednesday night.
Adrian continued to start in goal in Alisson’s absence and while the Spanish goalkeeper kept a clean sheet and pulled off multiple good saves, there was a shaky moment or two.
Joe Gomez couldn’t hide his frustration when he was essentially tackled by Adrian in the early stages of the match in Amsterdam.
Joe Gomez is literally every Liverpool fan to Adrian after tackling his own player… pic.twitter.com/iUtC6KzhNH
— Sam (@SamueILFC) October 21, 2020
Gomez was looking to shepherd the ball back into the box, where Adrian could have picked it up and removed all pressure.
But instead Adrian rushed into Gomez and hoofed the ball up the pitch, sparking a response of incredulity from the defender.
The incident was likely forgotten about after the full-time whistle, with Liverpool taking home all three points thanks to an own goal from Nicolas Tagliafico.
In Van Dijk’s absence, Gomez and Fabinho are already beginning to form a reliable partnership and legendary Manchester United centre-half Rio Ferdinand reserved special praise for the latter.
Ferdinand said on BT Sport: “Fabinho has probably been the best player in all of those games (where he’s played centre-back) – especially the Bayern and Chelsea games – he was probably the standout defender on both of them occasions.
“This guy is a top operator, he played at right-back for a lot of the time when he was at Monaco as well, so he knows how to defend.
“He’s gonna be judged over the course of the season, not over a couple of performances at centre-back, and now he’s got the opportunity to play there for a sustained amount of time and he’s going to have to show it on a consistent basis.
“(In the) first-half, he made two or three challenges on the edge of the box to stop attacks and he has read the game really well today, but it’s about him and Gomez starting to form a partnership.”