LONDON (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 last Wednesday.
Liverpool announced last 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.
“It’s not cool. We think a lot about it, but not in the case now ‘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.”
Liverpool have unveiled plans to expand their Anfield Road stand by adding 7,000 seats in a new scheme that would take the ground’s capacity to 61,000.
Existing planning permission, which had proposed an increase of 4,800, has been allowed to lapse and a new, larger proposal looks set to be formally submitted next year.
“The best news is that this club is constantly trying to develop and make the next steps and that’s what I like,” said Klopp.
“Making this iconic place available for more people is a very good idea. It’s exciting but no one knows exactly how long it will take. It’s a good start.”