Liverpool may have to fare without one of their new signings when they begin their season at home to West Ham this Sunday.
Midfielder Fabinho is currently nursing a minor injury picked up in the Reds’ recent pre-season win over Torino and could be absent at Anfield.
The former Monaco star has showcased mere glimpses of his value throughout the club’s preparations, evidently still getting to grips with his new side’s system and approach.
He could now force Jurgen Klopp into reverting to club captain Jordan Henderson earlier than anticipated following his late return from the World Cup.
Fabinho missed training on Thursday and will be examined closely in the build-up to this weekend’s opener, reports the Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce.
Liverpool will become the first Premier League challenger to contend with a significantly revamped West Ham under Manuel Pellegrini.
Fabinho’s presence would have been a welcomed obstacle for a Hammers attack invigorated by the arrival Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko in particular.
The Brazilian’s divisive start to his Anfield career evidently stems from an unfamiliarity with an orthodox defensive midfielder on Merseyside in recent years.
He offers an overwhelming devotion to protecting his back four that has rarely been seen since Lucas Leiva’s prominent role in the team or Javier Mascherano’s time at the club.
What can easily be deemed a slow start has also previewed an attacking freedom for the likes of Naby Keita and Georginio Wijnaldum around him.
Though Fabinho’s absence would be a blow, Henderson is a welcomed alternative on the back of an outstanding season in the no.6 role.