Liverpool attacker Diogo Jota will be absent for between six and eight weeks, according to Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.
Having arrived from Wolves in the summer, the Portuguese has made an impressive start to life at Anfield, scoring five goals in nine Premier League outings and four in six in the Champions League to emerge as a credible contender to start in the forward line.
Jota’s push to become a full-time member of the front three, however, has suffered a significant setback after sustaining a knee injury during Liverpool’s Champions League draw with Midtjylland on Wednesday.
In the worst-case scenario that Jota misses eight weeks of action, he would return in the middle of February, just in time to play in the knockout rounds of the Champions League.
He is, however, poised to miss a slew of vital matches for Klopp’s side.
“Yeah, it’s worse than we first thought and better than we then thought,” Klopp explained to reporters, while revealing that Kostas Tsimikas is set for a similar lay-off with a knee injury.
“All the potential surgeons had a look on it, no surgery needed. But he will be out for a while. We don’t know exactly but one-and-a-half, two months. We don’t know exactly. It’s pretty similar with Kostas Tsimikas, by the way. Unbelievable.”
Klopp added: “It was first after the game. We saw the situation when he got it; him himself, nobody would have thought something happened there.
“We got him off the pitch and he said ‘I feel a little bit’ and next day, scans and then a surgeon has to look at it. That’s how we do it, different information. In the end, it’s strange but we were happy that we heard the final diagnosis.”
In total, there are 12 Premier League fixtures to be played over the next two months, including a series of important clashes against potential title rivals.
If the festive fixture list looks generous towards the Reds, towards the end of January it becomes more challenging. Manchester United are slated to visit Anfield on January 16, while a fortnight later there is a trip to Tottenham.
On February 6, meanwhile, Klopp’s men play host to Manchester City. That would be the final match he would be sidelined for if he were to miss exactly eight weeks.
Klopp’s men have been hit badly by injuries this season, most notably in the heart of their defence. Both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are long-term victims.
There was some positive news for Klopp on Sunday, however, as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was able to be named in the squad for the first time after a pre-season injury.