Kevin Phillips has heaped praise on Liverpool midfielder Fabinho as the club prepare to enter contract negotiations with the player.

The former Sunderland and Aston Villa striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, claimed the “absolutely fantastic” 27-year-old is “vital” to Jurgen Klopp’s side.

In the Guardian, Fabrizio Romano revealed earlier this week that the Merseyside club hope to start talks with the Brazil international over a new contract soon.

Fabinho still has three years left on his current deal but is set to be rewarded for an impressive first two and a half years in England.

He has made 96 appearances for Jurgen Klopp’s side, winning the Champions League and Premier League in that time.

When asked by Football Insider for his thoughts on the latest news coming out of Anfield, Phillips said: “Fabinho is vital for Liverpool.

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“He is that cog in there with Henderson and when he doesn’t play they really miss him.

“I am not surprised that Klopp and the club want to tie him down so that come January it does not have to be worried about. He is an absolutely fantastic player that the club will want to keep for a long time.” 

Speaking on the versatile midfielder’s performances at centre-half this season, Klopp said: “Fab is, I wouldn’t even say a defensive-orientated player, he’s an organisation-orientated player. He is very strategical.

“Thank God that we have him and Joel Matip and the other boys, that somebody can play these positions.”

In other Liverpool news, Agbonlahor backs star player to seal new year exit after Klopp U-turn.