Liverpool defender Joe Gomez will undergo surgery on a fractured leg, the club confirmed on Monday morning.
Gomez has been missing for the Reds ever since their 3-1 win over Burnley at the start of December, having been sidelined for almost a dozen games.
The initial prognosis on his recovery time was "up to six weeks", however the centre-back has suffered a setback in his rehabilitation.
The club confirmed on Monday that Gomez will undergo surgery, whilst insisting “no timescale will be placed on an expected return date for Gomez, though it’s likely he will feature again this season.”
Gomez was initially expected to return to action in mid-January, however it now appears that he could play a limited role in Liverpool's final few months of the season.
Providing a more positive update on the news, the Mirror's David Maddock insisted Gomez could be back in action by 'early March', if all goes well.
Gomez merely a routine operation designed to speed up the healing process, so not expected to set his return back any further. No timescale yet until results know, but could be back by (early) March if goes well. #LFC
— David Maddock (@MaddockMirror) February 4, 2019
Jurgen Klopp said after the news broke: “It’s a blow for the boy and for us - because prior to the injury he was in such fantastic shape.
“But he is too valuable to take any risk with, both for our present and future, so we get this procedure done and he comes back when he’s ready.
“His attitude during this rehab has been outstanding but it just hasn’t healed as we’d have liked so we will make this intervention and then he will come back.”
Klopp will hope that some of his injured defenders are able to make a return in time for the clash, with the Reds currently having just two fit senior centre-backs, and no recognised right-backs.