Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says Fabinho could be back to face a Manchester City side he believes could run away with the Premier League title.
The Brazilian, 27, has switched from midfield to central defence this season as a result of Liverpool’s injuries.
But he missed the win at Tottenham with a “minor” issue and is set to be absent against West Ham and Brighton before the champions host City on 7 February.
“Minor issues nowadays are at least three games,” said Klopp.
“Depending on the week, it could be four games. I think the game when ‘Fab’ could be back is [Man] City.”
Liverpool centre-backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez were sidelined earlier in the campaign with long-term injuries while fellow defender Joel Matip was substituted at half-time of the 3-1 midweek win at Spurs with an ankle injury.
The injuries have led to midfielder Jordan Henderson also being used in central defence by Liverpool, where he has been partnered by inexperienced defenders Nathaniel Phillips, 23, and Rhys Williams, 19.
After the injury to Matip, Klopp said it was “incredible what’s happening in the defensive line” and hinted Liverpool could try to sign a centre-back prior to the January transfer window closing on Monday if they can find the “right player”.
The victory at Tottenham ended a run of five league games without a win for Liverpool and, after Manchester City beat Sheffield United on Saturday, leaves Klopp’s side seven points behind the leaders having played the same number of games.
“Will it be the most exciting run-in with different teams around? Could be,” said Klopp.
“But City could run away now as well. They are in a good position with games in hand and are playing good football again.
“I don’t know if it will be the lowest points total [to win the league]. What we see is it is a difficult season for all teams maybe apart from West Ham, and Leicester look pretty good.
“There are a lot of teams who look good but we all have ups and downs.
“You have to be lucky with injuries to be really on top of things – more than in other years because of the amount of games in a specific period that is for sure.
“But I can imagine watching from outside it is exciting, especially for a neutral fan. I don’t know who will be champion.”