FABINHO’S hamstring injury sustained in midweek has led to suggestions that Liverpool will struggle badly, and for some time to come.
But will they? Will they come unstuck against a West Ham side that has shown great character over the past few weeks, even if they did succumb rather timidly to league leaders Everton?
The Hammers certainly held their own in the draw with Man City last weekend, showed true grit to come back from three-nil down to draw 3-3 at Tottenham, and embarrassed Leicester (3-0) and Wolves (4-0). All this in the past five weeks.
Playing as a makeshift central defender, while covering for Virgil van Dijk (who himself suffered a long-term knee injury in the Merseyside derby a fortnight ago), Fabinho’s torn hamstring further weakens a backline that may be without Joel Matip as well.
Matip is not expected to be fully fit for West Ham’s visit today and Jurgen Klopp is likely to call on Nat Phillips to make his Premier League debut for the Reds.
The 23-year-old came on for Fabinho in the first-half of the Champions League win over Midtjylland in midweek and did well under the circumstances.
But West Ham, who are without defeat over the past month, will know this and perhaps target the youngster.
In particular, Liverpool will want to keep on an eye on Michail Antonio, who is proving to be their talisman of sorts.
The 30-year-old Englishman who is doubtful for the encounter due to a hamstring injury, has scored three times in six outings this campaign so David Moyes will be hoping that Antonio passes the fitness test.
They may well need him to, if they are to avoid disappointment against the champions — a side that might have been weakened in defence but should not be written off just yet.
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