Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been ruled out for the rest of the season, Liverpool FC have confirmed on Wednesday.
The midfielder was withdrawn after 15 minutes of the Reds’ Champions League semi-final against Roma on Tuesday night, having fallen after challenging Aleksandar Kolarov.
Jurgen Klopp said post-match that the injury was “really bad” and that it had soured the evening for him and the rest of the squad.
It’s a massive blow for the player, who has hit form in recent weeks and become a key player in Liverpool’s midfield.
With eight assists and five goals, the 24-year-old was enjoying his most productive season as a player and therefore looked set to be part of Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup.
The club confirmed the knee ligament injury, saying that “no specific timescale is being placed upon his return to action at this stage.”
Injuries of this nature can vary depending on how a player recovers, but it will likely be at least three months, meaning he could miss pre-season too. The worst-case scenario would be nine months out.
In the meantime, Klopp is left with just three senior midfielders, with Emre Can and Adam Lallana also sidelined and neither expected to feature again this season.
Klopp has said he will have to be “creative” with the next few games in response to the injury issues he has in midfield.
One option is to play a 3-4-3 formation against Stoke, meaning one of his midfielders can be rested, while another is to bring in youngster Ben Woodburn who has played in midfield for the Reds’ under-23s this season.