Football

With Fabinho injured, Juergen Klopp turns to teenager Rhys Williams

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp suffered another injury blow with Brazilian Fabinho joining Virgil van Dijk on the sidelines after picking up a hamstring injury in their 2-0 Champions League win over Midtjylland yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Midfielder Fabinho has been filling in for van Dijk in central defence since the Dutchman suffered a serious knee injury in the Merseyside Derby.

"It's exactly the last thing we needed," said Klopp, after Fabinho limped off in the first half.

"I know he felt a hamstring, and that's not good. He said he could have played on but no sprints, which doesn't help. We will see, we will know more after a scan but clearly it isn't good."

With centre-back Joel Matip also injured, Klopp brought on teenager Rhys Williams to partner Joe Gomez at the back.

"Rhys Williams, he's only 19-years-old and he's played more Champions League games than Premier League games - that's rare. We're doing really well, but it's a shock for a team because now we have to sort that injury," said Klopp.

The German was not sure if Matip will be able to play in the league game against West Ham United on Sunday morning.

Klopp left his first-choice attack of Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino on the bench against the Danish side, starting with Diogo Jota, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino instead.

But Liverpool, lacking urgency and fluency at an empty Anfield, failed to register a single first-half shot on target for the first time in 51 home games in all competitions, since October 2018.

The breakthrough finally arrived 10 minutes after the break when Trent Alexander-Arnold received the ball on the right and found Xherdan Shaqiri, who played a delightful reverse pass back into the path of the marauding fullback.

The England international squared for Jota to finish from close range for Liverpool's 10,000th goal in all competitions.

The Reds escaped as Anders Dreyer could only find the side-netting after drifting past Gomez, before substitute Salah won a penalty after a through-ball from Alexander-Arnold in injury-time. The Egyptian lashed home to make the three points safe. - REUTERS, AFP

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