Real Madrid have announced that Sergio Ramos has suffered a muscle injury, with the centre-back now expected to miss a month including both meetings with Liverpool.
The Reds are back in action this weekend with a trip to Arsenal, before the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash with Real at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.
Zinedine Zidane already faces being without Dani Carvajal, Eden Hazard, Toni Kroos and Fede Valverde for at least the opening tie, and is now set to be missing Ramos for both legs.
It is April Fool’s Day, but with midday the traditional cutoff for jokes, Real’s 1pm announcement that their captain has suffered a muscle injury in his left leg is likely to be genuine.
The majority of media outlets have already picked up the news, with Ramos an almost-certain absentee for the clashes on April 6 and 14.
That is, naturally, a big blow to Real, with Ramos still one of their top performers and a first-choice starter when fit, but it could also be seen as an opportunity lost for Liverpool given the added motivation his presence would give the quarter-final.
Ramos was central to the Reds’ collapse in the 2018 Champions League final, inflicting a shoulder injury to Mohamed Salah before, even more reprehensibly, elbowing Loris Karius in the side of the head to cause a concussion.
Liverpool will insist revenge is not on their minds as they head into the games, but it is an unavoidable backstory to the tie.
Much like their upcoming opponents, Real have suffered a difficult campaign when it comes to injuries, with Ramos, Carvajal, Hazard, Valverde, Eder Militao, Alvaro Odriozola, Rodrygo and Mariano all missing lengthy spells.
The Spanish side are currently third in LaLiga, six points behind leaders Atletico Madrid and two behind Barcelona in second.