Liverpool’s damaging 1-0 loss to Brighton on Wednesday marked a low point in a season with its fair share of dips. Six hours without a home league goal, an injury list a mile long and a title defense in tatters has left manager Jürgen Klopp working overtime to right ship for the business end of the campaign.
After encouraging week saw the Reds break a bad run of results with back-to-back away victories against West Ham and a floundering Tottenham, the title holders returned to their struggles this season against the bottom dwellers, laboring fruitlessly in front of goal before yet again folding beneath a late sucker punch.
It is not an excuse to blame the season’s performance thus almost exclusively on the shocking number of injuries Klopp’s side have suffered. While the winter deadline day signings of center backs Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies work to get up to speed, Liverpool supporters have been anxiously waiting on a fitness update from Fabinho.
The midfielder, who has missed the last three games with a muscle issue, has been the best available center half option this campaign following season-ending injuries to all three senior options. While the Brazilian has stepped up his recovery, it will still be a race to be ready for Sunday’s vital match against league leaders Manchester City:
“I had a slight discomfort in training so we decided that I shouldn’t play against Tottenham or West Ham,” the 27-year-old told the Liverpool matchday program.
“But I started undergoing my recovery straightaway and I’m feeling a lot better than I was at the start of last week and hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to come back for these games we have coming up.
“We’re not exactly sure how long I will be out but I’m working hard to be back playing as soon as possible.
City’s game in hand and seven point lead over Liverpool in the table means that a win for the Reds won’t necessarily reignite a title race that is surely over. However, Fabinho implored his team to still push on in their race to secure a Champions League qualifying place and mount a credible European challenge:
“We need to win games and every match is hard in this league, but it is also important that we have so many games against some of the leading teams as we can really improve the gap,” he said.
“We just want to try and perform to our best levels and get our confidence back fully.
“There are a lot of games coming up and they are all important, so we have to be ready to play and try to show our best as we did at Tottenham and West Ham.”
“We know the quality of this team. Of course, we have had a few players out this season with injuries and coronavirus, but we know that we have the quality to be in a better position in the league table.
“The confidence will come back for sure and we just have to keep working hard because the quality is there.
“Sometimes you have difficult times in football and you just have to be together, work hard and do everything you can to win because you know the results can turn around just as quickly.”