Liverpool have been dealt another injury blow with the news that Daniel Agger has suffered a calf strain.
The Dane, Liverpool’s vice-captain, picked up the injury in the FA Cup tie against Oldham, meaning the Reds played the final 10 minutes with 10 men.
Liverpool have not given a protracted timescale on the injury, but similar injuries typically see the player sidelined for around six weeks.
Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero has been missing with a similar injury for the past month.
@sarah_sajk @thisisanfield @LFC Depends what grade of a strain it is, Grade1 and you're back in 2/3 wks, Grade2 takes a month, Grade3 8wks
— Col Wilson (@wilsoncov) January 8, 2014
Liverpool are already without fellow centre-backs Mamadou Sakho – although reports earlier this week suggest he could be close to a return for Sunday’s trip to Stoke – and Sebastian Coates.
Full-backs Jose Enrique and Jon Flanagan are also out, while Daniel Sturridge is almost back to fitness after six weeks out. Steven Gerrard returned from injury in the Oldham match.
Agger’s injury is likely to change Liverpool’s plan to loan out Tiago Ilori this month, while Martin Kelly – who moved to centre-back after Agger’s injury on Sunday – could get a chance at centre-back too.
Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel are likely to be Liverpool’s centre-back pairing against Stoke – the last time they lined up together was the debacle at Hull in early December.