Belfast Telegraph

Fabinho walking suspension tightrope for Liverpool ahead of Villa clash

Midfielder has been booked four times.

Liverpool have a worry over Fabinho (Nick Potts/PA)
Liverpool have a worry over Fabinho (Nick Potts/PA)

By Carl Markham, PA

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits he has a selection dilemma over key midfielder Fabinho.

The Brazil international is one booking away from a one-match ban so if he was to be yellow-carded at Aston Villa on Saturday he would miss the crunch clash with title rivals Manchester City at Anfield on November 10.

Fabinho has established himself as Klopp’s first-choice midfielder and has started all-but-one of Liverpool’s 13 Premier League and Champions League matches.

He has yet to lose any of the 30 league games he has started since arriving from Monaco for £43.7million in the summer of 2018 but Klopp has to consider whether to protect him at Villa Park.

“I don’t know yet. We have to see. I know it (the potential suspension), of course. What we do with that I don’t know,” he said.

Asked what instructions he would give the player should he play the German joked: “No challenges at all!

“That’s not possible against Aston Villa, playing without challenges, especially in that position. You cannot ask for this.

“The player knows it, I know it. Is there any game where you think that’s a good game to get a fifth yellow card?

“Maybe other teams are pretty smart in that and take them, I don’t know, I never did it.

“We have to deal with. Maybe he has to deal with it on the pitch or I have to deal with it with the line-up. We didn’t make a final decision yet, so we will see.”

Klopp could be without midfielder Naby Keita, who came off with a knock in the midweek Carabao Cup win over Arsenal, but defender Joel Matip is definitely absent.

The centre-back has missed the last three matches with the recurrence of a knee problem and is still some way from fitness.

“Naby I don’t know yet, we will see,” added Klopp.

“Joel is not available for the next few weeks.

“What could that mean? A couple is two, right? So a few is more than three.”

PA

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