Nathaniel Clyne is expected to miss Liverpool’s opening Premier League game of 2017/18, according to reports on Sunday afternoon.
Having been one of the Reds’ more injury-free players since joining from Southampton in 2015, Clyne has been dogged by issues this summer.
It is claimed from several reliable sources, including the Telegraph‘s Chris Bascombe, that the 26-year-old will miss the Premier League curtain-raiser at Watford on August 12.
The England international has been struggling with a hamstring problem in recent weeks, preventing him from taking part in Liverpool’s pre-season matches in Asia and Germany, and a back injury is now sidelining him.
It means Clyne will play no part in the upcoming clashes with Bayern Munich and either Atletico Madrid or Napoli in the Audi Cup, which take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.
With the 26-year-old appearing increasingly unlikely to feature at Vicarage Road in less than a fortnight, it paves the way for two of the Reds’ most exciting youngsters to shine.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has already been tipped to usurp Clyne at some point this season, due to some superb performances for the U23s in 2016/17, and he could be in line for just his third Premier League start.
Joe Gomez is perhaps the more likely option, however, with the 20-year-old impressing at right-back in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Hertha Berlin.
Jurgen Klopp spoke highly of Gomez after the game, and his more imposing physicality over Alexander-Arnold could give him the edge against a sturdy Watford outfit.
It is far from ideal to have a player as steady as Clyne out injured, but there have been calls for him to improve in recent times.
Klopp has always been a manager to promote youth, and if Alexander-Arnold or Gomez flourish against the Hornets next month, there is no guarantee that Clyne will return as first-choice.