Liverpool midfielder-cum defender Jordan Henderson has been ruled out for up to 10 weeks as a result of the groin injury he suffered against Everton.
The Reds captain and England vice-captain (30), was forced off in the first half in Saturday’s 2-0 Merseyside derby defeat to add to the club’s defensive problems.
Liverpool are already without their four first-choice centre-backs; Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Fabinho.
Henderson has had surgery and will miss three England World Cup qualifiers but is expected to return this season.
This leaves manager Jurgen Klopp with the newly-acquired duo of Ozan Kabak and Ben Davis and the inexperienced Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Philips as the only options at a centre back.
Henderson will now miss at least five Liverpool matches, including a home Premier League game with Chelsea and the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie with RB Leipzig.
He will also be unavailable for England’s qualifying games against San Marino, Albania and Poland in March.