Liverpool's Fabinho ruled out until New Year with ankle injury

AFP , Friday 29 Nov 2019

Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Fabinho (C) is greeted by Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp as he prepares to leave the pitch injured during the UEFA Champions league Group E football match between Liverpool and Napoli at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on November 27, 2019 AFP

Jurgen Klopp is confident that Liverpool can cope without influential midfielder Fabinho after ankle ligament damage ruled out the Brazil international until the New Year.

The 26-year-old, who has this season established himself as a first-choice pick for the Premier League leaders, was substituted after just 18 minutes of the 1-1 draw against Champions League opponents Napoli at Anfield on Wednesday.

Liverpool announced on Friday that Fabinho would play no part in their run of 10 games between now and the end of December.

But Klopp believes the options they have means they can absorb his loss, despite Fabinho's record of never having been on the losing side in all of the 32 Premier League matches he has started.

"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," he said.

"We have solutions for the position, we have to replace him, we can replace him, we have played without him, we have played good without him.

"Will it be exactly like Fabinho? Of course not. Nobody is like the other one. But it will be a good one."

Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum were mentioned as possible stand-ins, with a reshuffle in the centre likely, but Klopp admitted none represented a perfect like-for-like swap.

"Fab couldn't have played all the games from now until March, that was clear anyway," Klopp said at his press conference on Friday.

"It's not cool. We think a lot about it, but not in the case now 'oh my God, how can we deal with it?'.

"It's just 'let's do the right thing for Fab, let's do the right thing for the team' and let's carry on."

Fabinho would not have been able to play against Saturday's opponents Brighton anyway as he was serving a one-match suspension.

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