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Injured Fabinho an early casualty for Liverpool in Napoli clash

3:22 PM EST 11/27/19
Fabinho Liverpool 2019-20
The Brazilian lasted less than 20 minutes of his side's Champions League clash against Napoli before limping off with an ankle complaint

Liverpool's efforts to down Napoli on Wednesday were hampered early on when the defending Champions League holders lost Fabinho to injury.

The Reds went into Wednesday's Group E clash at Anfield needing a win to clinch qualification to the last 16 and first place over Napoli.

But they were dealt a blow just 18 minutes into proceedings when Fabinho pulled up. 

The Brazilian appeared to be struggling with an ankle problem after a heavy challenge in midfield and went off for treatment. 

Despite re-entering the game, however, he continued to feel discomfort and was unable to take further part. 

Gini Wijnaldum came off the bench to replace Fabinho, minutes before Dries Mertens compounded Liverpool's misery in front of their own fans by putting Napoli 1-0 ahead with a fine finish past Alisson. 

With Fabinho already suspended for Liverpool's weekend clash against Brighton, the Reds will not need their midfielder to return to immediate service. 

But manager Jurgen Klopp will be keen to regain the Brazilian as soon as possible as the club enter what promises to be a hectic holiday period. 

From Saturday onwards Liverpool will play up seven games in the space of 18 days across four different competitions, including two matches in two days in the Carabao and Club World Cups on December 17 and 18 which will require two entirely separate squads to be chosen. 

With further matches to follow in the Club World Cup and in the Premier League around Christmas and New Year's, Klopp will hope to nurse as few injury worries as possible, meaning the manager will have his fingers crossed that Fabinho has avoided any serious damage to the joint and can make a swift recovery.  

The Brazil international has featured 18 times for Liverpool, having scored his second goal for the club with a stunning strike against Manchester City that helped the Reds continue their unblemished Premier League run.

Fabinho made 41 appearances last season, including 11 in the Champions League as he helped lead the club to a sixth triumph in the competition.

Following Wednesday's match against Napoli and the weekend's meeting with Brighton, Liverpool are set to face Everton on December 4 in the first Merseyside derby of the season.