The Reds will be without their Brazilian star for Saturday’s game at the King Power Stadium – but two of his team-mates are close to a return
Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Fabinho will miss Liverpool’s trip to Leicester on Saturday through injury.
But the Reds boss revealed that both Naby Keita and Diogo Jota are edging ever closer to a return, in what would be a major double-boost for the struggling champions.
Klopp was speaking at a press conference to preview his side’s Premier League fixture at the King Power Stadium this weekend, a game which could have a significant bearing on the race for a top-four finish.
What’s been said?
Klopp told reporters: “Fabinho will not be available. He has suffered a little muscle issue again and will be out for this game. I don’t know at the moment [if he will be available for the Leipzig game on Tuesday], we will see.
“With Naby, it was a hamstring, a slightly bigger one. He is back on the pitch but not back with the team yet. He’s in individual training sessions, hard training sessions, the final stages of his rehab. But still not there.
“Diogo is close, but not as close as Naby, for example. He’s on the pitch as well, individual sessions, not the same intensity as you can imagine after a longer time in rehab. You have to train really intense before you can go back to team training.
“Two or three weeks, maybe? Probably the medical department will hit me now, but I think that’s kind of possible to have him back in full training maybe, and then we will see how long it takes.”
So who could play at centre-back against Leicester?
Klopp could give debuts to one or both of his new signings, with Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak having trained fully with their new team-mates at Kirkby this week.
Nat Phillips, who started the Reds’ victory at West Ham two weeks ago, is another alternative, with the option of moving captain Jordan Henderson back into his favoured midfield role.
“Obviously we had some sessions together where we could really work on the defensive setup,” Klopp said. “That’s really important.
“We have other players available as well. Nat Phillips did really well, together with Hendo and Fab. We have to find a solution, and all of them had the chance to show in training this week who is ready. I have to make a decision tomorrow.”
How long have Keita and Jota been out?
Keita’s last appearance for Liverpool came in the 7-0 win at Crystal Palace on December 19. That was the first and only time he has completed 90 minutes this season.
He has managed just 11 appearances in all competitions this term, and just seven starts.
Jota injured his knee in the Champions League draw away to FC Midtjylland on December 9. The Portugal international had scored nine goals in 17 appearances prior to that, having joined from Wolves in a £45 million ($62m) transfer back in September.
What is the situation surrounding the top four?
Liverpool head into the game having won just two of their last nine Premier League matches, and under increasing pressure in the race for a Champions League qualification spot.
They sit fourth at present, three points behind Leicester in third and just one clear of fifth-placed Chelsea, who host Newcastle on Monday night.
Also within striking distance are West Ham, Everton, Tottenham and Aston Villa, all of whom are within five points of the Reds. Everton and Villa also boast two games in hand.
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