Saturday 14 December 2019

Liverpool setback as Fabinho ruled out for Christmas period with ankle ligament damage

Fabinho was replaced after 19 minutes against Napoli due to injury (Martin Rickett/PA)
Fabinho was replaced after 19 minutes against Napoli due to injury (Martin Rickett/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that his Brazilian midfielder will be out of action for the rest of 2019 after scans confirmed he received ankle ligament damage in last Wednesday's Champions League draw against Napoli.

Klopp hinted he feared the worst for Fabinho immediately after the Napoli game and his key midfielder will now be absent for a spell that will include a host of important Premier League games, a Carabao Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa and the FIFA World Club Cup in Qatar.

"Of course that is bad news, nothing good to say about that," declared Klopp ahead of his side's game against Brighton at Anfield on Saturday. "About a time frame or how long it will take, we are not 100 per-cent sure, but it looks like he will not be involved in the Christmas fixtures.

"It was my main problem after the game but we have solutions and replacements for him. We can play without him. We are not the only team with injured players. We have to deal with it and we will.

"He couldn't have played all the games until March anyway. We have to do the right thing for Fab and for the team."

Liverpool will equal a club record of 31-games unbeaten if they avoid defeat against Brighton this weekend, with Klopp pouring praise on Graham Potter's side ahead of a game that will see them welcome Ireland striker Aaron Connolly back into their ranks after a spell in the treatment room.

"Potter is doing a fantastic job at Brighton," stated Klopp. "It will be a tough one for us. This is just the next game. Everyone has three games a week coming up, but they have had time to prepare. We had an intense game against Napoli.

"We're not the most intense team in the league, other teams run more than us. Brighton run much more overall. There are games where you have to be very intense, in others we have to control the game more."

Klopp also gave his views on Arsenal's decision to sack manager Unai Emery, as he suggested the decision was unexpected despite the tide of popular opinion turning against the Spanish coach.

"I was surprised when I saw the news, that's how the football world is," he added. "I have no clue what happened there but obviously the board wasn't happy with the performances and made a decision. That's our life when you sign a contract.

"I wish Unai all the best. He is an outstanding manager and has shown that in many different countries. Arsenal have to find a solution now, there are coaches out there, younger ones. Maybe they can take a chance."

Who is your sportstar of the year?

Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.

Prizes include, tickets to Ireland's against Scotland in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.

Simply click here to register your vote

PA Media

The Left Wing: John Cooney on Ulster's European run and bouncing back from World Cup disappointment

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport