Liverpool are in a spectacular position to lift the first Premier League title in the club’s history, but one of the challenges for Jurgen Klopp will be to navigate a busy fixture schedule without Fabinho in the setup. The Brazilian international picked up an injury in the Champions League match against Napoli. Liverpool were able to get a 1-1 draw against the Italian club, but a bigger loss for the team would be Fabinho.
The 26-year-old had a slow start to his time at Liverpool, but he has become one of the most influential players in the last year. He was instrumental in helping the club in the Champions League last season and he has not put a foot wrong so far this season. Klopp admitted that this was indeed bad news for the Merseyside outfit, but he expects the team to cope well. According to Sky Sports, he said:
“Of course it is bad news. There is nothing good to say about that. The time frame and how long it will take, we are not 100 percent sure.
“It looks pretty sure that he will not be involved in the Christmas fixtures. It will obviously take a while. The whole night after the game, there was nobody asked me about that.”
Fabinho will be missing a number of key Premier League matches for Liverpool apart from being absent for the FIFA Club World Cup challenge. This has the potential to be a problem for the Reds, who have not kept a clean sheet in the last 11 games following the draw at Napoli. So far, it has not been a problem since Liverpool’s offensive quality has been able to get the club out of trouble.
Even though there is an obvious lack of clean sheets, Liverpool have not been leaking goals like a Chelsea. As far as the club remain in this situation, things should be going well. There is a whopping eight point at advantage in the Premier League while the club could still reach the last 16 of the Champions League as group winners quite comfortably.
It is very difficult to find a like-for-like replacement. There are few players in the Premier League who are capable of replicating Fabinho’s gameplay. The Brazilian international can break opposition attacks with incredible interception skills, while he does not dwell on the ball much like a regular holding player. Despite playing in a deeper role, Fabinho only has an 86% pass accuracy so far in the league. This is a figure eclipsed by the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum, but Fabinho makes a difference by coming up with more key passes, goals, and assists.
Jordan Henderson is capable of playing as a holding midfielder in the absence of Fabinho. The Liverpool captain has excellent work rate to shield the defence from opposition attacks. However, he may not have the same composure as Fabinho. Adam Lallana and Wijnaldum are the names who would be suitable for the role.
The marathon run of games for Liverpool begin from this weekend. Liverpool are set to play a minimum of 10 games before the start of the New Year. Things do not get easy even when the team return from the FIFA Club World Cup, as the FA Cup is just around the corner. One of those games is a Merseyside derby against Everton.