Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has suffered a setback in his pre-season preparations, sidelined with a hip injury.
The 26-year-old has been following a tailored training regime this summer, with Jurgen Klopp keen to ensure he starts the season at peak fitness.
This is now unlikely, however, with Sturridge missing Liverpool’s final two pre-season games with a hip problem, sitting out of clashes against Barcelona and Mainz 05.
Sturridge started the 2015/16 campaign sidelined following a hip problem, spending the previous pre-season recovering in the US following surgery.
Klopp opted to field Roberto Firmino in Sturridge’s place for Saturday evening’s clash with Barcelona at Wembley Stadium (5.15pm BST), with Divock Origi and Danny Ings his alternative options.
This serves as a bitter blow to both player and manager, with Sturridge recently underlining his ambition to become “the best striker in the league” this season.
“For me to play for Liverpool and show my abilities and show my qualities has always been the aim,” he said.
“I will continue to strive to be the best player—to be the best striker in the league and do the best for this club. I will strive to win silverware for this club.
“It’s God’s time. You know me, I’m always working, I’m always pushing myself to the limits and I want this to be the season where not just myself, but the team can be successful.”
Sturridge is now a doubt for Liverpool’s Premier League opener away to Arsenal on August 14, with such a short period to prove his fitness.
Klopp has previously taken a patient approach to Sturridge’s injuries, demanding 10 consecutive days of full training before he would be consider for first-team action.
Liverpool take on Barcelona at Wembley on Saturday, before immediately flying to Mainz for Sunday’s clash at the Opel Arena.