Football

Fabinho misses Tottenham game as Liverpool get fresh injury headache

The Brazilian has been a key performer at the centre of defence for Jurgen Klopp’s side in the absence of Virgil van Dijk

Liverpool have another injury headache to contend with after Fabinho was ruled out of the Reds’ squad for Thursday’s Premier League clash with Tottenham.

The Brazil international has been a key performer for Jurgen Klopp’s side at the heart of defence this season, helping to fill the void left by the injured Virgil van Dijk.

Fabinho has helped Liverpool stay within touch in the Premier League title race but they went into the Spurs game seven points behind leaders Manchester City.

Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson were named as central defenders with James Milner starting in midfield. Liverpool’s Twitter account described Fabinho’s injury as ‘a minor muscle issue’.

“That’s our situation at the moment,” Klopp told BT Sport. “Actually, it was nothing really. He just felt something and we had to take him out and now he’s out. It was not a challenge or an intense situation or whatever, it was just how things happen.”

Klopp will be hoping he is fit for some important upcoming fixtures. After Spurs, Liverpool play fourth-place West Ham and Brighton before a potentially season-defining run of games against Manchester City, Leicester, RB Leipzig and Everton.

Rhys Williams played in the FA Cup defeat to Manchester United in midweek, after Henderson had been moved into the back four for the league draw against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team.

Matip played in the shock defeat at home to Burnley but has been regaining his fitness after suffering an adductor problem in late December.

Klopp suggested after the Burnley defeat that Liverpool wouldn’t be signing a new defender during the January transfer window.

“I am not a five-year-old kid any more and if I don’t get what I want I start crying,” he said. “Most of the time in my life I didn’t get what I want, to be honest!

“I am responsible for a big part of this club but there are people who are responsible for the whole thing, and I cannot make their decisions. I know they are with us, I know they want to support us, and they do.

“Now we talk about a centre-half. Yes, it would help, 100 per cent. Would we score more goals with a centre-half? I am not sure. Would it give us more stability in specific moments? Probably, yes.

“But it’s not about that. We never, ever spoke in the transfer window like this because that would be an excuse and we don’t need that. What we have to do is improve the football in the decisive areas with this squad, and not sit here and be disappointed or frustrated with some decisions. I’m not.

“Of course we know what we would do in an ideal world but the world is not ideal and not just for us. We have to deal with the situation.”

However, he was more upbeat when providing an update on Van Dijk’s recovery from his potentially season-ending injury.

“I don’t know what is possible, and I don’t think I am the right person to judge it,” he said.

“He looks really good. I spoke to him this morning on the phone, and he is in a really good mood. It’s all very promising, but I don’t know when he will be back.

“For sure there are still a lot of stages to go and to clear. I had this injury myself, so I know. But for the time we are in, and for how long he is out now, and the rehabilitation, he looks really, really promising.”

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