(Reuters) - Liverpool have suffered another defensive injury as manager Juergen Klopp confirmed makeshift centre back Fabinho would miss Saturday's Premier League clash at Leicester City with a muscle problem.
Liverpool's defensive resources have been decimated this season with centre backs Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all ruled out with serious injuries, leaving Fabinho to fill in, at times alongside fellow midfielder Jordan Henderson.
The Brazilian, who along with Henderson, was an integral part of Klopp's industrious midfield pressing machine in their run to the title last season, will sit out the match at the King Power Stadium, where fourth-placed Liverpool face a Leicester side a spot above them in the table.
"Fab will not be available by the way, he's suffered a little muscle issue again so he'll be out for this game," Klopp told reporters on Friday.
Fabinho's absence could open the door for one or both of Liverpool's January signings Ozan Kabak, recruited from Schalke 04, and Ben Davies, from Preston North End, although Klopp is wary about the threat posed by Leicester striker Jamie Vardy.
Leicester's top scorer has returned following a minor hernia operation and is expected to start.
"Vardy is obviously a proper challenge the way he gets set up by his mates but you can only do it with the whole team," Klopp said.
"You have to avoid the passes to him. Jamie is a world class player in a specific area of the pitch."
Liverpool have lost four times in the new year, including their last three at Anfield after a 68-match unbeaten run at home.
Klopp's side were top of the league at the start of the year but now sit 10 points behind leaders Manchester City and a point above Chelsea in fifth.
"It's normal if you don't get results week in, week out that a few things drop. Rhythm is difficult when you have to keep bringing players in," Klopp said.
"Do Leicester prepare to face a team without confidence and rhythm? I don't think so... I spoke once about confidence and I wasn't really happy afterwards that I opened that box. You have to fight through a situation like this."
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)