Fabinho’s injury on Tuesday night has added to the injury woes Liverpool have been battling with since the commencement of the 2020-2021 season. It is becoming a very huge course of concern as it is mostly the experienced defenders at the club that are going down with injuries.
Since Liverpool‘s most reliable defender Virgil van Dijk joined Liverpool in 2018, Fabinho has been like a backup to the 29-year-old Netherlands international. So, when Van Dijk got injured on October 17, Fabinho was the major hope the manager of the club, Jurgen Klopp had.
Fortunately for Klopp, the 27-year-old center-back did not disappoint when he replaced the injured Netherlands international. He put up a first-class show against Ajax in the UEFA Champions League on October 21 which ended 0-1 in favor of Liverpool. He was also a class against Sheffield United in the Premier League on October 24 where he championed the defense of Liverpool to a 2-1 victory.
On Tuesday, October 27, Liverpool hosted Midtjylland in a UEFA Champions League match and he was the major go-to guy for the center-back role. Unfortunately for Jurgen Klopp, in the 30th minute of the match, Fabinho signaled that he couldn’t continue the match as he was down with a hamstring injury.
“He felt his hamstring, and that’s not good,” Klopp said. “He said he could have played on but no sprints, which doesn’t help. We will see, we will know more after a scan but clearly, it isn’t good.”
A frustrated Klopp was left with no major options as another defender he would have gone for, Joel Matip is battling with a hamstring injury. Hence, the only option left for the German tactician was a 19-year-old Rhys Williams who has only played once for Liverpool on 24 September 2020 against Lincoln City in the Carabao Cup.
The England youth international was able to ensure that the visitors did not score any goal throughout the remaining minutes in the match. Instead, Liverpool went on to score two goals through the boots of Diogo Jota and Mohammed Salah (from the spot-kick). The match ended 2-0 in favor of the hosts.
Fabinho’s injury, Jurgen Klopp’s Headache
Fabinho’s injury and that of Van Dijk and Matip means that Jurgen Klopp is left with 19-year-old Rhys Williams to partner Joe Gomez at the back. Another alternative Liverpool have is to recall their 23-year-old defender Nathaniel Phillips who is currently on a season-long loan at Stuttgart.
Before he left for the German club, Phillips played once for Liverpool on 5 January 2020 in an FA Cup third-round match against Everton.
If Liverpool successfully recall the defender, Klopp would have to alternate the two inexperience defenders throughout their busy schedule until his more experience defenders recover from their injuries or sign more experience defenders during the January transfer window.
“We’re doing well but it’s a shock for a team because now we have to sort that injury,” Klopp noted.
“If it was one game at the end of the season, we could probably make one or the other play. But we have a game three days later. The players need proper build-up.”
Liverpool have a Premier match against West Ham on October 31 after which the team will travel to Italy to play against Atalanta in the Champions League on November 3. Then, the reigning Premier League Champions will play Manchester City on November 8.