Liverpool's Fabinho out for remainder of 2019 with ankle injury
 (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Premier League leaders Liverpool have been dealt a blow with the news that key midfielder Fabinho sustained ankle ligament damage in the midweek draw against Napoli.

Fabinho had to be substituted in the first half of the Champions League Group E clash, having unsuccessfully tried to shake off the problem.

And the club have now revealed that he is set to be sidelined until the New Year.

Which games will Fabinho miss?

The Brazilian is one of the most vital cogs in Jurgen Klopp's winning machine, with the Reds unbeaten in league games he has started since his arrival in summer 2018.

He will be absent for next week's Merseyside Derby, for the decisive group-stage meeting with RB Salzburg next month and for the trip to second-placed Leicester on Boxing Day.

The 26-year-old is also likely to stay home when his team-mates jet off to Qatar for the FIFA Club World Cup.

In all, given the relentless December schedule, he could miss as many as 11 matches. 

However, the runaway leaders will remain confident of continuing their imperious form.

Overall, the average position of their opponents from this weekend until New Year is 11th. 

Who will step-in?

Georginio Wijnaldum might now be expected to deputise at the base of midfield.

Alternatively, Klopp could pair Wijnaldum and skipper Jordan Henderson in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will compete for the midfield vacancy.

Oxlade-Chamberlain could be the favourite, having recently found his best form since returning from a long-term lay-off.

He has scored four goals this season and inspired a Reds rally when he came off the bench in midweek. 

Liverpool continue their title bid at home to Brighton on Saturday afternoon.