Football

Fabinho's injury mars Liverpool's victory

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, GP D
LIVERPOOL Midtjylland
2 0
(Diogo Jota 55, Mohamed Salah 90+3 pen)  

Liverpool laboured to a 2-0 win over Denmark’s Midtjylland on Wednesday morning (Oct 28, Singapore time) as a goal from Diogo Jota and a Mohamed Salah penalty secured a hard-fought Champions League Group D victory at Anfield.

The win came at a cost, however, as Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp suffered another defensive blow with Brazilian Fabinho limping off in the first half with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.

Fabinho had been deputising for central defender Virgil van Dijk, who is out with a long-term knee injury, and he was replaced by 19-year-old Rhys Williams.

“It is exactly the last thing we needed,” said Klopp, who added that the seriousness of the injury would not be known until after a scan and praised Williams for the composed way in which he coped with being thrown into the game.

“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,” he added.

With centre-back Joel Matip also ruled out with injury, Klopp brought on teenager Williams to partner Joe Gomez at the back.

“Rhys Williams, he’s only 19-years old and I think 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,” added Klopp.

The German accepted that the Premier League champions were in a difficult period.

“It was a tough night. It’s a bit like in a marriage, there are good and bad times. It’s not a bad time but it’s a tricky time. 100 per cent we have to stick together and fight harder and that’s what the boys did tonight,” he said.

Liverpool made a slow start and suffered an early scare when Anders Dreyer broke through the middle but shot straight at goalkeeper Alisson.

With Klopp having rested his usual front three and given starts to Jota, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino, Liverpool struggled to break down the determined Danish side.

The breakthrough came in the 55th minute when after a swift exchange with Xherdan Shaqiri, Trent Alexander-Arnold crossed low to Jota who had a simple tap-in.

The goal was Liverpool’s 10,000th in all competitions.

Substitute Roberto Firmino should have settled the contest near the end, but blasted over the bar after more good work from Alexander-Arnold.

Then Dreyer had the best chance of the game when he jinked into space in the Liverpool box but, with Alisson to beat, he could only find the side-netting.

Salah made sure of the win, in stoppage time, from the penalty spot, converting after he had been brought down by Paulinho inside the box.

Liverpool have the maximum six points from their opening two games while Midtjylland are yet to get off the mark. – REUTERS

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