LIVERPOOL: Liverpool must live with the absence of the injured Fabinho and find an alternative solution to fill the gap in midfield with the Brazilian ruled out until January, manager Juergen Klopp said yesterday.
Fabinho was injured in a collision in Wednesday’s Champions League draw with Napoli and the midfielder limped down the tunnel in the 19th minute after Klopp replaced him with Georginio Wijnaldum.
“It’s absolute bad news, I have nothing good to say about that,” Klopp told reporters. “I’m not sure how long it’ll take but it’s looking like he won’t 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 have to deal with it and we will.”
The injury comes at a crucial time for league leaders Liverpool who are set to play at least eight games in all competitions in December, including the Club World Cup, while a separate team plays the League Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa.
The defending European champions are also yet to seal progress to the Champions League knockout stages, with one final away game at Salzburg next month.
“It is an opportunity for someone, of course,” Klopp added. “(Jordan) Henderson, Gini (Wijnaldum) and (Adam) Lallana have all played there... They bring a different quality.
“We can (change the) system too. Losing a player of Fabinho’s quality is a blow but we are not the only team with injuries.”
Liverpool host Brighton & Hove Albion today, who rewarded manager Graham Potter with a new deal that will see him stay at the club until 2025 and Klopp said he expects the visitors to give them a tough time.
“Potter is doing a fantastic job at Brighton. It will be a tough one,” Klopp said. “Brighton had a full week to prepare. They will come here and try to get the points. We have to be ready three days after a very intense game against Napoli.
“The way they play, they had 48% possession against (Manchester) City, they play proper football. I respect it a lot.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard said goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is the first to admit that there is room for improvement after making errors this season but he is satisfied with his work ethic.
Kepa saved a penalty in Wednesday’s 2-2 Champions League draw at Valencia but came under criticism for failing to stop the two goals, especially the equaliser when he seemed to pull out of a save when Daniel Wass shot from distance.
“Like everybody, we’re all trying to improve. Kepa is a professional and you can see it in his attitude every day,” Lampard told reporters ahead of Saturday’s London derby against West Ham United in the Premier League.
“He’s a keeper that’s striving to be better, as he should do at his age and the status he has -- Chelsea’s number one, big price tag, Spain’s number one and competing with another great goalkeeper (David De Gea).
“He’ll want to get better all the time, and there have been a few incidents this season where he’ll be the first to say he can do better. That’s football.”