Liverpool sign Fábio Carvalho as Thiago races to be fit for Paris final

·3 min read

Liverpool have confirmed Fulham’s attacking midfielder Fábio Carvalho will join them on 1 July but are sweating on Thiago Alcântara’s fitness for Saturday’s Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Nineteen-year-old Carvalho is expected to sign a five-year contract with the Anfield club and will cost £5m plus add-ons. Jürgen Klopp wanted to sign the Portugal Under-21 international in January but, despite agreeing personal terms and the player completing a medical, the deal did not get over the line on deadline day.

Related: Klopp insists league heartbreak will motivate Liverpool for European final

Liverpool’s interest never waned, however, and the transfer was agreed in principle last month. The Champions League finalists will pay add-ons in the region of £2.7m and have accepted a 20% sell-on clause with Fulham.

A Liverpool statement said: “Liverpool FC can confirm Fábio Carvalho will join the club this summer. The 19-year-old forward will officially complete a switch to the Reds on 1 July.

“Carvalho played a key role in Fulham’s promotion back to the Premier League, scoring 10 goals and providing eight assists in 36 games as Marco Silva’s side won the Championship title. He had featured for the Cottagers in the top flight on four occasions in the previous season, marking his first Premier League start with a goal away at Southampton in May 2021.

“An exciting talent born in the Lisbon region of Portugal, Carvalho made his debut for Portugal Under-21s in March of this year having previously represented England at youth level. Carvalho came through the academy ranks at Fulham and went on to make 44 senior appearances in total for the London club.”

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Carvalho, who can operate as a winger or attacking midfielder, was capped by England at under-18 level, before opting to represent Portugal. He will join Liverpool for the start of pre-season training and a tour of the far east.

Thiago sustained an achilles injury during Liverpool’s Premier League win against Wolves on Sunday and faces a fight to be fit for Saturday’s Champions League final against Real Madrid. The influential midfielder limped off in first-half stoppage time at Anfield with what was initially suspected to be a hamstring problem. Klopp declined to go into details about the injury after the game, although Thiago’s right thigh was heavily strapped for the post-match lap of honour.

Scans, however, have revealed the 31-year-old sustained an achilles injury in the 3-1 win, which saw Liverpool miss out on the Premier League title by a point from Manchester City. The injury is not believed to be serious but, given the final in Paris is only five days away, his involvement against Carlo Ancelotti’s team is in doubt. Thiago will work intensively with Liverpool’s medical staff in the meantime in a bid to be available.

Thiago’s fitness is not the only midfield issue confronting Klopp ahead of the final. Fabinho has been sidelined since suffering a hamstring injury at Aston Villa on 10 May. The defensive midfielder has not yet returned to full training, but hopes to do so later this week.

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