Liverpool’s defensive crisis has deepened with news that Joel Matip has been ruled out for six weeks with a broken collarbone.
The German defender picked up the injury during the Reds’ Champions League victory over Napoli on Tuesday evening, where he came through 90 minutes as they secured their place in the last 16.
However, he was taken to hospital after the match where doctors confirmed he will now need an operation.
The injury leaves Jurgen Klopp with just two fit centre backs in Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren, with Joe Gomez already ruled out after breaking his leg against Burnley a week ago.
That is not the extent of Liverpool’s injury concerns either, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and James Milner both still being assessed by medical staff at the club.
Alexander-Arnold limped off with an ankle injury on Tuesday, while Milner is also being looked at after leaving the field in the 85th minute.
It is not ideal preparation for Klopp as he prepares for the visit of rivals Manchester United on Sunday.
The Reds moved one point clear at the top of the Premier League thanks to a 4-0 win at Bournemouth on Saturday.
It leaves the Merseyside club fighting on two fronts going into the new year, and Van Dijk insists the players are desperate to go one step further in Europe than they did last year.
“It’s something that we all want, it’s something that we are going to give everything for,” he said.
“We want to play on the highest level and the Champions League, other than the Premier League for us, is the highest level.
“We want to reach the maximum and hopefully do better than we did last year in the Champions League. You need to have dreams, you need to go for it, otherwise why would you be a footballer?”