Fabinho

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Fabinho out until January with ankle ligament damage

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LIVERPOOL, England — Liverpool says defensive midfielder Fabinho will be out until January with an ankle injury, putting more strain on the Premier League leaders with a packed schedule coming up.

[ MORE: Unai Emery fired by Arsenal ]

Fabinho went off injured in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday with ankle ligament damage.

The Brazilian has started all five of Liverpool’s games in the Champions League this season and 12 of 13 in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Who are the favorites to replace Emery at Arsenal? ]

Liverpool has 10 games to play before the end of the year — six in the PL, a Champions League match against Red Bull Salzburg, two games at the Club World Cup and one in the League Cup.

Klopp reacts to Napoli draw, worries about Fabinho injury

Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images
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Jurgen Klopp says the problem was the crosses, you see?

Liverpool drew Napoli 1-1 at Anfield on Wednesday in the UEFA Champions League, failing to clinch a berth in the knockout rounds with one match day to spare.

The Reds’ boss figured Napoli would close down the middle of the pitch, and had a plan for it, but it just didn’t come off.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

“They closed the center so we needed to come from the wing,” Klopp said, via the BBC. “The plan is one thing but the boys have to execute it, and they crossed too early. We take that, it was always a hard one.”

Liverpool will advance with a draw or better in Austria against Red Bull Salzburg on Dec. 10. It could also advance with a loss if Napoli fails to beat Genk in Italy.

Salzburg lost 4-3 at Anfield during the first meeting but carries three away goals in case it wins and a tiebreaker is required. Napoli just needs a draw.

Klopp figured Napoli is celebrating despite failing to hold onto its Dries Mertens-supplied lead.

“In (the Napoli) dressing room they feel like they are already through and maybe they are. Everybody here thinks, ‘Oh my God, it will be tough’ and it will be tough, that much is clear.”

Predictably and understandably, Klopp joined the online chorus claiming Napoli played negative football.

“The way Napoli set up, it didn’t help that they scored, they could follow their plan all the time, we had to increase pressure all the time. We were not brilliant but we put pressure on them. I was not happy with the last 15 minutes of the first half. Second half it was just intense and of course it’s not easy, they really defended the goal they had.”

Klopp also recognized that he’s got a bigger problem, potentially, in the form of an injury to influential midfielder Fabinho.

The Brazilian had played every minute of the UCL group stage and has gone 90 minutes in all but two of their 13 Premier League matches.

“The biggest things is the Fabinho injury, that’s massive. It’s early and we all hope it’s not too serious but it’s pretty painful and in an area you don’t want to have pain, around the ankle.”

That doesn’t sound great, but Liverpool supporters can hope it’s simply a matter of Klopp being extra candid (which is why we love him).

Liverpool smacks Man City, puts both hands on title fate

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Liverpool put both of its hands around the Premier League title race in dismissing sloppy Manchester City 3-1 at Anfield on Sunday.

The win boosts the Reds eight points clear of the field and nine points ahead of fourth place City, the two-time reigning Premier League champions.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Fabinho and Mohamed Salah scored first half goals for the Premier League leaders, and Sadio Mane salted away the result early in the second half.

Bernardo Silva scored a late goal for City, providing some drama for the final dozen minutes


Three stars, three duds

Star No. 1: Fabinho was an absolute monster in every third, scorching the match-opening goal and making life miserable for the City attackers and midfielders alike in the heart of the pitch. He may be the MVP of the title campaign so far.

Star No. 2: Mohamed Salah was electric in the first half, timing his run perfectly to send the Reds ahead by two and making himself a menace in the decisive first half.

Star No. 3: The goalkeeper didn’t have to make too many saves, and Alisson Becker certainly cannot be blamed for Bernardo’s vicious, unmarked back post lash to make it 3-1. Alisson was calm in collecting the ball and commanded his area.

Dud No. 1: VAR and/or referee Michael Oliver. Liverpool deserved this win, make no mistake about it, but the non-call on Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s handball moments before the Reds took a 1-0 lead was a tough one to take for anyone other than Liverpool and its fans.

Duds Nos. 2 and 3: Raheem Sterling was shook in his old home, booed at every turn and simply miserable in possession. His frustration got the best of him, his body language betraying him. Credit to the Englishman for continuing to fight for goals well after Sergio Aguero was withdrawn, the Argentine just not anywhere near his best and missing multiple chances to get on the board.

Bonus Dud: City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo had a difficult job to do, and he did it poorly, making just one key positive play while allowing a trio of Reds goals.


Liverpool scored with its only moment of the first 7 minutes, which came after Trent Alexander-Arnold went unwhistled for a handball in the box.

The moment was electric; Fabinho smashed a shot past Claudio Bravo for 1-0.

City was still all over Liverpool, with Raheem Sterling nodding wide and John Stones failing to get on the end of Kevin De Bruyne‘s 12th minute free kick.

Bravo was beaten again when Salah got on the end of a cross through the box and headed past the Chilean keeper.

Alisson made a fine two-handed parry on Sergio Aguero in the 25th. Angelino saw a deflected strike hit the post when he lost Jordan Henderson but couldn’t beat Van Dijk for a clean strike in the 29th.

Bravo parried a Firmino drive in the 38th minute, Liverpool continuing to thrive on the counter.

Kyle Walker tore a shot well wide in the 39th, and Aguero dragged a shot wide of the far post in the 42nd.

Salah came close with a distance effort in the 45th minute, but Bravo made an outstanding save.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

The second half started with more for City, a deflected shot earning a corner that was played short and wound up with Alisson.

Mane to put the match to bed out of nothing, Liverpool’s first meaningful attack of the second half defying Bravo. Jordan Henderson’s cross caught him out, and Mane’s header was pushed into the side panel by the Chilean.

Man City tried to answer through Sterling, whose shot was blocked by Dejan Lovren for a corner which again came to nothing.

Bernardo grabbed one back in the 78th, and Sterling had Gabriel Jesus cued up for a second in the 80th but it caught the Brazilian off balance.

Walker missed a back post bid from the influential Angelino, and City couldn’t break through Liverpool’s set-in side.

WATCH: Chaos at Anfield as Liverpool opens up 2-0, quarter-hour lead

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Two shots, two goals.

That’s what Liverpool needed — along with some help from a handball non-call — to take a two-goal, quarter-hour lead over Manchester City at Anfield.

The visitors had all of the ball and even looked destined to earn a penalty when Trent Alexander-Arnold handled in the box, but Liverpool raced down the field and struck first blood.

[ WATCH: Liverpool-Man City LIVE ]

Ilkay Gundogan‘s soft clearance rolled to Fabinho, who hit a vicious strike from distance to put the hosts up 1-0 in the 7th minute.

VAR had a look and didn’t like what it saw enough to change anything. The banger stood.

And Liverpool opened up a 2-0 lead on its second chance of the day.

Andrew Robertson‘s cross sailed around City’s defense to meet just-onside Salah, who headed past Bravo.

Fantastic Fabinho key to Liverpool’s gritty early season run

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Fabinho has been the key cog in Liverpool’s workmanlike start to the season.

In many games Jurgen Klopp‘s men have been far from their best, but 10 games in they remain unbeaten and they’re top of the Premier League table with a six-point lead over second-place Man City.

Klopp hailed Liverpool’s supreme counter-pressing against Tottenham on Sunday, as the Reds ground their rivals down and launched another comeback win after a stingy defensive display.

With Virgil Van Dijk a monster in defense, Joel Matip‘s injury has left Liverpool a little too vulnerable in defense as Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez have struggled a little to slot in alongside him.

That’s where Fabinho comes in.


(Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images)

Aside from his superb positioning in midfield which allows him to win the ball back and get Liverpool’s attacks going, he is used to playing in defense so seamlessly plugs any gaps that pop up.

Klopp told Liverpool’s website that he now calls Fabinho “Dyson” as he vacuums up everything in midfield.

“And then ‘Dyson’ in the center, who was there for each ball defensively – what a game he played, unbelievable!” Klopp said.

With Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold flying on from the full backs positions, Fabinho provides Liverpool with extra cover and their are less susceptible to being caught on the counter, which was their Achilles heel in the past.

Fabinho goes about his job with minimum fuss but those who watch him week in, week out know how important he is. Fun fact: since he arrived at the club Liverpool haven’t lost at game he’s started.

He is smooth on the ball and his clipped past towards Firmino which led to Jordan Henderson‘s goal  was the perfect example of him not only being instrumental in Liverpool’s defensive solidity, but helping them to get on the front foot as soon as possible.

VVD, Alisson, the full backs and the front three of Salah, Firmino and Mane get most of the credit, but right now Fabinho is the glue which holds it all together. He is Mr. Consistent and you rarely see him have a bad game. He does his job and that’s that.

There is nothing flashy about Fabinho and after his slow start to life at Liverpool following his arrival from AS Monaco in the summer of 2018, that adjustment period was key in understanding his role in this team, in a new league and a new country.

In Liverpool’s tight wins so far this season, Fabinho has been a constant difference maker.