Jurgen Klopp addresses Fabinho's horror tackle on Evan Ferguson

Tom Gott
Fabinho was guilty of a nasty challenge
Fabinho was guilty of a nasty challenge / GLYN KIRK/GettyImages

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has insisted he does not believe there was any malice behind Fabinho's horror challenge on Brighton striker Evan Ferguson during Sunday's FA Cup clash.

The struggling Brazilian was only a late substitute in the 2-1 defeat but still managed to generate plenty of controversy with a nasty challenge right on the back of Ferguson's Achilles, which was only deemed worthy of a yellow card by the on-field referee.

The decision was quickly sent to VAR but no red card was forthcoming for Fabinho, whose face made it abundantly clear that he was expecting to be given his marching orders for the challenge.

Ferguson limped off the pitch soon after and left the Amex Stadium on crutches, but Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi refused to blame Fabinho for the injury.

"We are sorry for [Ferguson]," the Italian told beIN Sports. "The injury, we don’t know yet, but we will see in the next days, and we hope for him and for the club that it will not be so important an injury.

"I think Fabinho is a quality player. It can happen on the pitch, these accidents."

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Klopp was similarly reluctant to point the finger at Fabinho, although he acknowledged there was nothing pretty about the challenge.

"There was no dynamic in it. I just saw it once, not a second time. With dynamic movement, we can talk about a red card, but Fabinho was more lying, then he hit Ferguson," he said. "Not cool."

The incident was the latest moment of difficulty in what has been a tough season for Fabinho, who was heralded as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world just a few years ago but now finds himself part of the same Liverpool midfield that is widely accepted to need rejuvenating.

Klopp has stressed that he does not expect further reinforcements to his squad, however, with Fabinho set to be given the chance to rediscover his best form.