The Reds have been so lucky with injuries this season, the feeling of the inevitable came when the Brazilian was the last to be admitted to an increasingly busy treatment room after suffering a suspected hamstring problem against Midtjylland FC in the Champions League on Tuesday.
It was, as Jurgen Klopp later admitted, the last thing Liverpool needed to see Fabinho limping out of action.
Fabinho’s injury highlighted a growing concern for Liverpool’s boss Jurgen Klopp
But many muscle tensions and strains can be avoided to a certain extent by good preparation and minute management.
Some injuries, like the impact damage that Virgil van Dijk and Thiago Alcantara suffered in Everton earlier this month, cannot be avoided.
And they were not entirely inappropriate.
Self-defense, however, meant that Klopp was unable to remove the Brazilian from the starting formation in recent weeks, as the injuries in midfield and in the defense became increasingly severe.
The Liverpool players are well aware of the strain on their players. That explains why Klopp was so committed to the Premier League extending the temporary five-player substitution rule into this season, given the hectic schedule and limited time off his players have had in this strangest of seasons.
And he will have known that no player has played more Liverpool matches this season than Fabinho.
The worry for Klopp is that three of the other four players will have no choice but to continue playing, most likely at least for the next three games – the defensive trio of Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, joined by Mohamed Salah in the group.
Fabinho had played 736 minutes in ten games this season, making him one of only five Liverpool players to break the 700-minute mark.
Robertson was in nine of Liverpool’s 11 games this season and played a total of 810 minutes.
Since Liverpool’s figures include the Community Shield and both Manchester City and United played one game less in the Premier League, the discrepancy can be somewhat mitigated.
None of the Premier League leaders have played for their club, the left-back was only equalized by Everton’s defender Michael Keane and Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
But while the Europa League encounter between Tottenham Hotspur and Antwerp on Thursday is not included in these figures, the Londoners have already played as many matches this season as Klopp’s side.
And the relentless European schedule has given certain players like James Milner the chance to be rescued, especially for midweek.
At least thanks to Liverpool’s extensive storming options, the Liverpoolers can handle Salah’s minutes with care, as the Egyptian has only played 90 minutes in the two previous Champions League games, while Klopp took advantage of the opportunity for additional substitutions.
When Gomez is back in Liverpool, he will most likely simply have to assert himself. However, a rotation should be possible to keep the positions of the full-backs relatively fresh.
The international break in November offers little rest for Gomez, Alexander-Arnold or Robertson, the latter in a decisive European Championship qualifier for Scotland against Serbia.