Liverpool finally got off the mark in the Premier League in 2021 with a comprehensive 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur. Of course, being Liverpool this season, it couldn’t be all puppies and rainbows after picking up three points. Liverpool’s depth at center back, already paper thin, took a double hit on the day.
Before the lineups were even announced, there were rumors that Fabinho wasn’t seen in the pre-match training session held at Leyton Orient’s pitch. And indeed, he was not a part of the team. Jurgen Klopp announced that Fabinho was held out due to a muscle injury.
“Actually it was nothing really, he [Fabinho] just felt something and we had to take him out and now he’s out,” Klopp said of the Brazilian midfielder turned center back.
“It was not a challenge or whatever, it was not intense situations. It was just how things happen”
With Fabinho out, it meant that Jordan Henderson paired with Joel Matip to start the game, with both players just having returned from injury layoffs themselves. Unfortunately, Matip was withdrawn at the half, being replaced by Nathaniel Phillips.
After the match, Jurgen Klopp provided an initial update on Matip, and the prognosis was not good.
“It looks like something serious, to be honest, for Joel,” said Klopp. “He had a problem with his ankle. There was no chance to play on.”
Liverpool are now left with no healthy senior team center backs, even if you count Fabinho. Hopefully the Brazilian will be able to play on the weekend, but even if he is, it sounds like Liverpool may end up having to give significant minutes to U23 defenders Nat Phillips or Rhys Williams assuming that Matip is out for several weeks, as one would expect with an ankle injury. The Reds could also continue with Jordan Henderson playing in the back, which of course would throw off the midfield alignment. Then again, Liverpool and FSG could take the plunge into the transfer market as fans hope.