Only time will tell if Fabinho's injury at Aston Villa will come back to bite Liverpool this season
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DANIEL MATTHEWS: Fabinho has given Jurgen Klopp a major headache ahead of the FA Cup final… Liverpool’s hopes of a Quadruple are still alive but only time will tell if midfielder’s injury will come back to bite at Wembley and even Paris

  • Only time will tell if Fabinho’s injury at Villa Park will come back to bite Liverpool  
  • The injury occurred after he surrendered possession to Philippe Coutinho 
  • Jordan Henderson deputised well after coming on for Fabinho on Tuesday night
  • But in midfield, neither Naby Keita nor Curtis Jones left much mark on the game

The Liverpool medic reached for his microphone, a brief message filtered through to the dugout, assistant manager Pep Lijnders let out a cry of frustration. 

And just like that, inside a bubbling Villa Park, Fabinho’s night was over, Jurgen Klopp’s best-laid plans hit a snag and even a brilliant, battling victory carried a small asterisks.

Liverpool march on, their hopes of a Quadruple still alive. Somehow. Alas, only time will tell if a casualty suffered here will come back to bite at Wembley, even Paris.

Only time will tell if Fabinho's injury at Aston Villa will come back to bite Liverpool this season

Only time will tell if Fabinho’s injury at Aston Villa will come back to bite Liverpool this season

It hands Reds boss Jurgen Klopp a major headache ahead of the FA Cup final this weekend

It hands Reds boss Jurgen Klopp a major headache ahead of the FA Cup final this weekend

‘We cannot just push players through all the time,’ the Liverpool boss had warned before this game, No 59 of a punishing season. ‘We have the quality and that’s why we use it.’

That explained his five changes against Aston Villa, the well-earned rests for Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson, Thiago and Co.

Up to now, only Liverpool’s ability to steadily stockpile quality across the pitch has sustained their unlikely four-frontal assault. ‘It’s the only way,’ Klopp added.

And yet for all of Liverpool’s success in revolving the cast of their front three, for example, there remain some areas where rotation will always come at a cost. 

The injury occurred after he was pressed into surrendering possession by Philippe Coutinho

The injury occurred after he was pressed into surrendering possession by Philippe Coutinho

They have no obvious double for Alisson or Virgil van Dijk – who could? – and no one shields their back four with the intelligence and industry of Fabinho.

No wonder, then, Lijnders struggled to hide his frustration after the Brazilian’s night ended after only half an hour.

The irony here was that Fabinho had endured a tough evening until then and the injury occurred after he was pressed into surrendering possession by Philippe Coutinho. 

The Brazilian reached for the back of his thigh as he scrambled back towards goal; hamstring injuries don’t tend to be run off.

The Brazilian reached for the back of his thigh as he scrambled back towards goal

The Brazilian reached for the back of his thigh as he scrambled back towards goal

And so immediately minds began to wander. To Saturday’s FA Cup final against Chelsea. Even to the Champions League final at the end of this month.

Klopp has options aplenty in midfield and Jordan Henderson deputised well after coming on for Fabinho on Tuesday night. 

He won the ball in the lead up to Sadio Mane’s winner and he will never be found wanting when it comes to discipline and leadership. But, in an ideal world, Henderson would sit alongside Fabinho and Thiago in Liverpool’s biggest games.

Jordan Henderson (centre) deputised well, winning the ball in the lead up to the winner from Sadio Mane (left)

Jordan Henderson (centre) deputised well, winning the ball in the lead up to the winner from Sadio Mane (left)

Klopp may have to rethink those plans now. Elsewhere, however, selection for Wembley might be a tad easier.

In midfield, neither Naby Keita nor Curtis Jones left much mark on the game. Keita’s most notable contribution was a glorious miss in the first half. No wonder Thiago came on at the hour.

At left back, Konstantinos Tsimikas made one crucial challenge on Ollie Watkins but remains raw. Robertson will come in for him. Replacing Fabinho won’t come so easily.

But the most notable contribution from Naby Keita (right) was a glorious miss in the first half

But the most notable contribution from Naby Keita (right) was a glorious miss in the first half

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