Liverpool need to tweak their defensive blueprint with Virgil van Dijk ruled out, says Glen Johnson, with the Reds warned that rivals will “fancy their chances one-on-one with Fabinho”.
Jurgen Klopp is set to be without a commanding Dutch centre-half for several months.
That is because Van Dijk is being forced under the knife after suffering knee ligament damage in a Merseyside derby date with Everton.
It has been suggested that the reigning Premier League champions will dip back into the transfer market for cover in January.
They do, however, have fixtures across multiple competitions to take in before the next window opens.
Klopp will have to make do before the turn of the year, with there plenty of options for the Reds to consider.
Nudging versatile Brazilian Fabinho out of a midfield berth and into the back four is considered to be a logical choice for Liverpool.
That decision was taken in a Champions League clash with Ajax, and a talented South American put in an assured performance on Dutch soil.
Fabinho is, however, not a centre-half by trade and could be found out if Klopp sticks with the high-line approach that he has been favouring.
Johnson feels the Reds will need to tinker with their plans until Van Dijk returns or another big-money signing is made, with opponents aware of a supposed weakness in their ranks.
The former Liverpool and England full-back told Premier League Productions: “Obviously I was an attacking full-back, and when I played alongside [John Terry], I knew I didn’t have to come back that far, because I knew he’d win the ball back and I could stay high in an aggressive position.
“But when you play with other centre-halves, you have to defend, you have to tuck in.
“I think it will alter their games, they will have to be reigned in a little bit.
“Everyone will know they’re going to be high, sometimes at the same time. The so-called smaller teams, they won’t even be looking. They’ll just play the ball into the space these guys will be leaving.
“Someone will fancy their chances one-on-one with Fabinho.”