Liverpool have revealed that Fabinho suffered ankle ligament damage against Napoli, which will rule the Brazil international out of action until 2020.
The news comes as a huge blow to Jurgen Klopp’s plans, with the South American having become a key component in the Reds’ Premier League title-chasing side.
With a packed schedule ahead of them, Liverpool would have been hoping to avoid any untimely setbacks, however, Fabinho will not be seen again for the remainder of the calendar year.
That means that the 26-year-old will sit out important domestic fixtures in an ongoing bid for English top-flight glory, while also missing the Reds’ quest to claim the FIFA Club World Cup crown.
No timescale has been put on his recovery, but those at Anfield are preparing themselves to be without one of the finest holding midfielders in the business for a prolonged period of time.
A statement released on the club’s official website read: “Liverpool can confirm Fabinho suffered ankle ligament damage during the Champions League encounter with Napoli in midweek.
“The midfielder needed to be substituted after 18 minutes of the 1-1 draw at Anfield on Wednesday night after falling awkwardly during a challenge.
“Further assessment on the injury has discovered Fabinho will be out of action until the New Year.
“The Brazilian will begin a rehabilitation programme with the Reds’ medical team at Melwood as he works his way back to full fitness.”
Klopp admitted after witnessing Fabinho being forced from the field against Napoli that losing the Brazilian would be “massive” for Liverpool.
Former Reds star Harry Kewell has also been left cursing the club’s luck after seeing a man who has made rapid progress over recent months ruled out for the foreseeable future.
He told Sky Sports: “It is a huge loss, he’s been the sponge.
“He’s soaking everything up. When he receives the ball, he passes it forward – which many holding midfielders don’t do, that first pass forward to put your team on the attack.
“It’s a big loss, but I’m confident in the squad that there are plenty to fill in.”
The first game in which Liverpool will need to find cover for Fabinho is set to see them play host to Brighton on Saturday.