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2RJG8JM LEVERKUSEN - Fabio Carvalho of RB Leipzig during the Bundesliga match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen - RB Leipzig at DE Bay Arena on May 27, 2023 in Leverkusen, Germany. AP | Dutch Height | GERRIT OF COLOGNE

Fabio Carvalho given surprise lifeline at RB Leipzig due to Portugal exile

After barely featuring for RB Leipzig so far on loan, Fabio Carvalho may have seen an opportunity open up as a result of the international break.

Carvalho’s switch to Leipzig was expected to hand the out-of-favour midfielder the game time he could not secure at Liverpool.

But so far, after four games with the German club, he has made just two substitute appearances amounting to 18 minutes on the pitch.

He went unused in the last two Bundesliga games, with a 5-1 win over Stuttgart and 3-0 victory over Union Berlin seeing Dani Olmo and Xavi Simons start in his place both times.

It appeared fraught for Carvalho, but with Olmo now set to miss “several games” with a knee injury suffered on duty with Spain, the loanee’s fortunes could change.

According to BILD, this has set the stage for Carvalho to come into the side, with the 21-year-old ironically well placed due to his own absence for Portugal.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 25, 2023: Liverpool's substitutes Fábio Carvalho (L) and Rhys Williams (R) before the FA Premier League match between Crystal Palace FC and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Though no longer eligible for Portugal U21s, it remains to be seen whether he will be considered at senior level due to the manner of his exit from the youth side last year.

Carvalho was criticised by manager Rui Jorge for communicating his decision to reject an U21s call-up via text, avoiding a phone call to explain.

But his absence from international duty has seen him move ahead of Emil Forsberg and Christoph Baumgartner in the running to replace Olmo for Leipzig.

BILD claim that Carvalho has been the “permanent focus” of Leipzig manager Marco Rose during the break, and “had a long one-on-one conversation with him last week.”

Carvalho scored twice in a 4-2 friendly win over Polish side Slask Wroclaw last Thursday, during which he clocked 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, Forsberg and Baumgartner will have “probably only had two full sessions with the team” ahead of the visit of Augsburg on Saturday, as they are on duty with Sweden and Austria respectively.

That opens the door for Carvalho to make his first start for Leipzig, with Forsberg considered more likely for the Champions League clash with Young Boys on Tuesday.

Realistically, this upcoming run of games was always likely to see opportunities increase for Carvalho, with Leipzig playing seven times in 22 days.

But the setback for Olmo has boosted his chances of a regular starting role, and with back-to-back clashes with Bayern Munich and Man City to come, it could be a pivotal spell.