With Liverpool currently in the midst of a center-back crisis, seeing Fabinho, who has been filling in admirably at center-back since Virgil van Dijk’s ACL tear, pull up with a non-contact hamstring injury in the first half against FC Midtjylland yesterday was a terrifying sight.
Rhys Williams acquitted himself well in relief and Liverpool maintained the clean sheet, but the overwhelming post-match narrative was that LFC may be facing several months without Fabinho. When a player pulls up clutching their hamstring as the Brazilian did, they can usually be expected to miss at least a month in a best case scenario.
Fortunately, according to a report by The Mirror, Fabinho underwent a scan that showed he has avoided sustaining a severe injury that could have held him out for up to six months. It sounds like he could miss as little as just a few weeks of action, and there is some hope he could be ready to go once Liverpool resume play following the upcoming international break.
Unfortunately, even if Fabinho does return following the break (which seems more hopeful than realistic to be honest), he will not feature in Liverpool’s next three matches. Meanwhile, Joel Matip has only just returned to light training as he recovers from a leg injury of his own.
That means Joe Gomez will likely be paired with either Rhys Williams or Nat Phillips, who have combined for just five senior appearances for Liverpool, against West Ham on Saturday. It’s difficult to imagine Matip could play 180 minutes in a six day span even if he were to return to the lineup in the next few days. Therefore, Williams or Phillips will almost certainly be in the starting XI for one, if not both, of Liverpool’s meetings with Atalanta and Manchester City next week as well.
So, while news of Fabinho’s injury being less severe than originally feared is certainly welcome, the next three matches are likely to be nervy affairs. Facing Atalanta and Manchester City will be trial by fire for Williams and/or Phillips. All we can do is hope the young defenders are up for the test.