Liverpool’s plans for the new season have been dealt a big setback with the news that Nathaniel Clyne has ruptured his cruciate ligament.
The right-back returned to the Reds this summer after a half-season loan spell with Bournemouth and had played a part in the early summer friendlies.
A goal and a lively performance against Tranmere, coupled with the team’s need for cover at full-back, hinted that he might work himself back into favour as a backup option.
But he will now instead return to Melwood to begin rehabilitation instead of seeing out pre-season, with the club confirming a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament was sustained against Dortmund on Friday.
Jurgen Klopp made it clear how disappointed he was for the defender, though the medical staff have indicated the recovery should be “straightforward” in terms of an ACL rehab.
“What can I say other than how gutted we all are for Clyney. He was training and playing so well – he was in outstanding shape,” said the boss.
“Clearly an injury of this nature isn’t a happy moment for any player, but the silver lining for him is that, according to the medical guys, it’s a straightforward ACL injury.
“This means fixing it and coming back from it should follow a path that is free from pitfalls and complications.”
Generally, ACL recovery can take anywhere from six to 12 months depending on the severity, the success of the operation and any setbacks during rehab.
Clyne is not the first player to suffer an injury for Liverpool this summer, though of course it is the most serious and impactful.
Fellow full-back Yasser Larouci faces a few weeks out after a horror challenge on him sustained against Sevilla, with severe bone bruising the diagnosis.
Young striker Paul Glatzel suffered a knee injury in the first friendly of the summer, while goalkeepers Vitezslav Jaros and Caoimhin Kelleher are also both absent through injury.
From the seniors, Adam Lallana has also missed games this summer after starting pre-season in a new, deeper midfield role.
For Klopp, now, the question turns to whether or not Liverpool need to add another option at full-back.
This will of course depend on whether Clyne was planned to be kept around for 2019/20, to serve as back-up on both sides for Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson.
If that was the idea, there’s no doubt the Reds will need an alternative option, as it’s unlikely the No. 2 will return to play any meaningful role this term.
The knock-on effect is, of course, that Clyne cannot now be sold and his contract expires next summer.
It had been suggested that the Reds wanted around £10-12 million for him if he was to leave this year, but that will now not be the case and he’ll likely leave on a free transfer once recovered next summer.