Klopp insists Liverpool can cope without injured Fabinho

Brazilian midfielder to miss at least eight matches after sustaining ankle injury

  Liverpool’s Fabinho reacts after sustaining an injury against Napoli on Wednesday. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

Liverpool’s Fabinho reacts after sustaining an injury against Napoli on Wednesday. Photograph: Carl Recine/Reuters

 

Jurgen Klopp has described Fabinho’s absence as a massive setback for Liverpool but insisted the Premier League leaders have the strength in depth to cope without the influential midfielder.

Liverpool have confirmed the Brazil international will be sidelined until the new year having sustained ankle ligament damage in the Champions League draw against Napoli on Wednesday. He will miss at least eight matches as a consequence, including the decisive Champions League group game at Salzburg and the Club World Cup in Qatar.

Fabinho has been one of Liverpool’s strongest performers throughout their outstanding start to the Premier League campaign. Klopp’s team can equal a club record of 31 league games without defeat at home to Brighton on Saturday, and his defensive composure will be sorely missed.

Christmas fixtures

The Liverpool manager admitted: “There is nothing good to say about it. We are not 100 per cent sure of the timeframe yet but it looks pretty sure he will not be involved in the Christmas fixtures. We have solutions for the position, we can replace him, we have played good without him and that’s all okay. It’s an opportunity for somebody else. That’s how it is, always.

“In our preparation for the Napoli game, we watched the game last season and Hendo played in that position then. Gini played in the position already. Adam Lallana played in the position. We can change system, we can do different things. Losing a player with the quality of Fabinho is big, massive, really bad. but we are not the only team in the Premier League with injuries. It’s not cool but it was clear Fab couldn’t have played all the games from now until March anyway.”

Klopp admitted Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri will also have more opportunities during a demanding December having recovered from the injuries that have severely limited their involvement this season.

“We have guys with a lack of minutes for different reasons like Shaq and Naby,” the manager added. “We don’t have the biggest squad in the world and now we have two defensive players in Joel [Matip] and Fabinho with long-term injuries. It’s not cool. They all will play. It’s time to be there for all of us and all the boys especially.

Tough

“December is always a tough period. We have had wonderful Decembers, but very average Januarys. So it is about going through and getting as many points as you can. It is for all of us. I was in Manchester last night [for the LMA Hall of Fame dinner] and I was next to Gareth Southgate and he told me in 1993 they [Crystal Palace] played on the 26th and 27th. That is not 50 years ago. So obviously you in England have always liked these funny schedules.”

Liverpool, meanwhile, have announced plans for a proposed £60 million (€70 million) expansion of the Anfield Road stand that will raise Anfield’s overall capacity above 61,000. The designs, part of a public consultation exercise that launched on Friday, are for a new 16,000-seater stand that will increase the stadium’s current capacity by 7,000. Liverpool’s plans are at the draft stage and do not include details such as an opening date, whether safe standing will feature or ticket prices, although the majority of the extra 7,000 seats will be general admission.

– Guardian

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