Liverpool centre-back Mamadou Sakho will miss much of pre-season with a heel injury, Jurgen Klopp has revealed.
Sakho was handed positive news on Friday night, when UEFA dismissed their case against him following a failed drug test in March.
But while the World Anti Doping Agency considers whether to appeal the decision, and Sakho and the club consider whether to take legal action against the same group, the Frenchman’s return to the field has been hampered.
Speaking on Tuesday, Klopp confirmed that Sakho was suffering with an injury that would keep him out for “three or four weeks.”
“Mama is injured. He had a little issue with his Achilles when he was playing—one day on, one off, this kind of thing,” he said.
“When he had his little ‘break’ he used the time to have a little bit of treatment and that now means another three or four weeks before he can train again.
“There was no surgery, he is just not able to train at the moment. He has got some rehab of course.
“We will see how he reacts to that and then when he can play again.”
This means that Sakho is likely to miss the majority of Liverpool’s pre-season fixtures, with the Reds next taking on Fleetwood Town at Highbury Stadium on Wednesday night.
The 25-year-old could also be left out of Klopp’s squad for their tour of the US, which will see Liverpool take on Chelsea, AC Milan and AS Roma, and he may even miss the start of the new season.
Sakho has already sat out for over three months of action, including the Europa League final and his nation’s involvement in the European Championship.
That Sakho cannot return to action at this stage is hugely frustrating, and provides another test of the former Paris Saint-Germain captain’s resolve.
Klopp will be forced to persevere with Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip, Tiago Ilori and Andre Wisdom as his centre-back options throughout much of pre-season, with Joe Gomez still working his way back to full fitness.
Lovren, Matip, Sakho and Gomez are expected to be Klopp’s regular options by the start of 2016/17, with Ilori, Wisdom and Martin Skrtel all set to leave the club this summer.