Jurgen Klopp has revealed that Fabinho is getting ‘closer and closer’ to full fitness after making his return to first team action against Manchester United on Sunday.
The Brazilian had been absent since November with an ankle injury that he sustained during a Champions League clash against Napoli. Prior to this, the 26-year-old had been in fantastic form for the Reds, missing just one of his side’s opening 12 Premier League games.
Fabinho enjoyed a seven-minute cameo in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over United but despite this encouraging sign, Klopp admitted that he was not sure when the midfielder would be ready to make his full return to the starting XI.
“It’s sensationally good that we have him back. How close is he to starting? I don’t know exactly,” the German told the club’s website.
“It was a long time out. Not too long, thank God, but it was long enough, so he needs to find rhythm again and then we will see how we introduce him step by step.”
Fabinho’s recovery coincided with Joel Matip’s return to the first team and the Cameroonian was an unused substitute on Sunday. Dejan Lovren is also close to being fully fit after a muscle problem.
“[It’s the] best news you can get that we have these boys back – Joel back, Dejan is on a way back – and we played through the toughest period of the season with two centre-halves,” Klopp added.
“Our fifth centre-half Fabinho, who can play the position as well, was injured as well, so it was really tough.
“We came through, thank God, and now we have to make sure that the boys are in the best possible shape before we use them again.”
Liverpool may need to deploy some of these returning players as they face another congested set of fixtures over the next week and a half. The Reds take on Wolves this evening before facing Shrewsbury, West Ham and Southampton in the space of six days.
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