Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Liverpool will be without a quartet of players for the remainder of the year, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain now sidelined too.
The midfielder left the pitch after turning his ankle in the Club World Cup final and the boss has confirmed he suffered ankle ligament damage.
As a result, he’ll play no further part this year, though Klopp stopped short of suggesting any kind of timescale for the No. 15’s return.
“No news on anyone else which is good news,” the boss told reporters at his press conference.
“With Oxlade-Chamberlain, the ankle, what we probably expected.
“You have three ligaments on the outside of the ankle and one of them is damaged. We have to see how quickly we can fix that.
“I don’t know how long exactly. It can take a while or it can be quick, we have to see.
“No chance of course for [Leicester], no chance for this year, Oxlade will not play any more that’s clear. We have to see how quick it can settle.”
The boss was further asked about the other sidelined players, with three defensive options ruled out recently.
They won’t be featuring any time soon, as has been apparent for some weeks.
“Both [Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip] and Fabinho are really in a good way, but of course not ready for these games.”
It’s worth noting that Fabinho was ruled out with a grade 1 high ankle sprain, which has an approximate return to action time of five-to-six weeks, though potentially as long as eight.
Given his suggested return partway through January, a similar timescale may be applied to Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Ox would miss the games against Spurs, Man United, Wolves and two possible FA Cup fixtures, thus perhaps returning after the mini ‘winter break’ the Reds have in mid-February.
Klopp’s options continue to be limited in a busy period of the season, but he has been boosted by the recent form of Joe Gomez and Naby Keita, both back in the team after spending much of the season on the bench.
As a result of the injuries, particularly with Oxlade-Chamberlain now out, there may be further opportunities too for Curtis Jones to be involved in matchday squads with the senior side.
Against Leicester, Gini Wijnaldum should be back to full fitness after not featuring in Qatar, while the likes of Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri have also played increasingly prominent roles over the past few weeks.