Gini Wijnaldum admits losing Fabinho would be a blow to Liverpool – but insists he is ready to step into the void left by the Brazilian.
The Reds face an anxious wait to discover the extent of an ankle injury sustained by the midfielder in Wednesday’s Champions League game with Napoli.
The 26-year-old was forced off just 19 minutes into the 1-1 draw after an accidental collision with Hirving Lozano. He initially tried to run the issue off but had to admit defeat soon after. Fabinho left Anfield with his left foot in a protective boot.
His condition will be assessed at Melwood over the next 24 hours, but with Liverpool looking at a run of 10 games in the next 30 days in all competitions, any kind of absence would be poorly timed. Even manager Jurgen Klopp admitted it would be "massive" for his side.
“It is a blow, a big blow for the whole team,” said Wijnaldum. “Of course also for him as a player but there are situations you have to deal with.
“I think during the years we have had a few blows, injury-wise and we just have to show we can deal with the situation.”
Wijnaldum replaced Fabinho against Napoli, and performed well in the role of deepest midfielder.
The Dutchman, like captain Jordan Henderson, has good experience of playing in that position, and says he is more than prepared to step in once more over the coming weeks.
“I have played it last season,” he said. “You think I am ready? We will see.
“We just have to show that it doesn't affect us. During the years we had some difficult injuries and difficult positions, last season when we didn’t have a right defender and things like that, we just have to deal with it, so we will see.”
Wijnaldum, like Klopp, was left frustrated by Liverpool’s inability to get all three points against an aggressive, well-organised Napoli team. The draw means they will need at least a point from their final group game away at Salzburg next month in order to progress to the last 16.
“Frustrating, of course you want to finish it early but that is the situation,” he said. “It comes to the last game so there is nothing we can change about it any more so what we have to do is to deal with the situation and try and get a good result.
“Champions League games will always be difficult. It also depends how you go into the game. The game against Salzburg at home, we started really well and we made it difficult for ourselves after we scored the goals.
“Of course they get the credit but we didn’t do the things we did in the beginning so we will see. It is definitely going to be a tough game but it will be tough for both teams.”