Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Dejan Lovren is unlikely to return until after next month’s international break, and will miss Liverpool’s clash with Brighton.
After helping Croatia reach the World Cup final this summer, there has been no sign of Lovren in a Reds shirt since.
The 29-year-old has been struggling with a stomach problem that has plagued him for some time, ruling him out of the opening Premier League wins over West Ham and Crystal Palace.
Liverpool host Brighton on Saturday evening, but Lovren will again be unavailable, meaning Joe Gomez should continue to partner Virgil van Dijk at centre-back.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, Klopp says the Croatian is also expected to miss next weekend’s trip to Leicester City.
“Dejan is coming closer but not really around team training at the moment,” he told reporters.
“He will not be involved, pretty sure no chance for the Leicester game.
“Hopefully after the international break he will be ready to go.”
The first batch of internationals this season come on the weekend of September 8/9, before Liverpool face Tottenham at Wembley on September 15.
That gives Lovren three weeks to work on returning to full fitness, although his comeback could well be a little further down the line.
Klopp has never been one to rush players back, and with Gomez impressing so much and Joel Matip also available, there is no great need for Lovren currently.
Meanwhile, Klopp also discussed potential changes on Saturday, having picked an unchanged starting lineup for the first two games, saying “we will see.”
“We had enough sessions, so I don’t think it makes sense to stick to a team only because we won,” he added.
“We have quality in the squad, so that’s possible of course.”
Fabinho is still looking to make his debut for Liverpool, but the Brazilian may again miss out as he grows accustomed to Klopp’s tactical style.
The likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Daniel Sturridge will be pushing for a first start of the campaign, while Jordan Henderson could come in for either Gini Wijnaldum or James Milner.