Fabinho’s Liverpool absence explained as Jurgen Klopp leaves star out vs Man Utd

Fabinho and Sadio Mane were two shock absences from Liverpool's starting XI to take on Manchester United on Sunday afternoon as Jurgen Klopp was forced into changing his side.

The Reds went into the game four points above their bitter rivals following five wins from their opening eight fixtures, with the Red Devils winning four of their previous outings.

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer naming Cristiano Ronaldo, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford in his front three, but it was the selection of the away side that raised eyebrows.

With Ibrahima Konate partnering Virgil van Dijk in defence and Mane rested for Diogo Jota, Fabinho was not included in a midfield of Naby Keita, Jordan Henderson and James Milner.

With Klopp not offering a long explanation for the absence, the official website gave further detail with a positive note to end on.

The club website reads: "Fabinho is absent from the squad due to the effects of a knock sustained to his knee in Madrid in midweek. The issue is not thought to be long term.”

The 28-year-old was left down by a challenge during their win over Atletico Madrid, and wasn't risked at the weekend.

Klopp did say of the fixture: "We have to defend at the highest level, we have to be brave, we have to respect their strength, Their individual quality is crazy, their counter-attack threat is massive.

"It is a special game. I can't wait for the first whistle. Hopefully the boys are free to deliver."

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With Solskjaer adding: “It’s a massive rivalry because of the history of the two clubs.

“As you say, the amount of titles and trophies these two clubs have won, and the history between us, the two cities, the football clubs, it’s a rivalry you have to embrace.

“You have to also hold your hand up and say they are a very good club and a very good team.

"You have to make sure you are better than them and in the last four years they’ve been tremendous and we are in truth chasing them,” added the Norwegian."

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