Sadio Mane injury could be 'season-ending', says Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits it is possible leading scorer Sadio Mane's season could be over.
The Senegal international was forced off with a knee injury during Saturday's Merseyside derby win over Everton, but the club's medical staff have not yet been able to properly assess the problem.
Further examinations will take place but Klopp admits he could be without the 13-goal winger for their final eight matches as they seek to secure Champions League qualification.
Asked whether the injury could be season-ending, ahead of Wednesday night's Premier League clash with Bournemouth, the Reds boss said: "Unfortunately that is possible but why should I say it now when I don't know?
"The knee is swollen and we have to wait for the final assessment. It is not 100 per cent clear.
"The only thing I can say for sure is that he will not be available for tomorrow.
"It is not very positive when it is like this. I cannot say at this exact time so we have to wait."
Liverpool will also be without midfielders Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson for the visit of the Cherries as Klopp's squad begins to get stretched.
Striker Daniel Sturridge is likely to be in the squad for the first time in two months after he returned to team training on Monday, but Klopp accepts his job is to find solutions to get past the teams who have caused his side problems this season - namely all those outside the top seven.
Third-placed Liverpool have a one-point advantage over Manchester City, who have a match in hand, six over Manchester United, who have played two fewer, and eight over Arsenal, who have also played 28 matches.
It means they cannot afford any slips between now and the end of the season.
"As a manager I can't really remember the last time I had all the players available and the decisions to make were really difficult," he said.
"My job is to find solutions. This is a good situation: we have 59 points, we are in a nice position - yes a few teams have played less games than we have but they cannot win them all because they have to play each other.
"The whole season is to prepare the finish and this is the finishing part of the season. Eight games to go. We expect results from ourselves."
Meanwhile, Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is refusing to fret over future penalty taking plans as his team head to Anfield.
The Cherries had a golden chance to bank another three points in Saturday's clash with Southampton, only for Harry Arter to sky his second-half spot-kick.
His was the third penalty missed in succession, by three different Bournemouth players, and they therefore had to settle for a 0-0 draw which leaves them seven points above the relegation zone in 11th.
On Wednesday they will go up against a side they beat in a thrilling reverse fixture which finished 4-3 late last year.
Howe, who insists that outcome will have no relevance to this assignment, confirmed he has plans in place should Bournemouth be awarded another penalty, even if he is not making them public.
He told the club's official website: "We will have a nominated penalty taker.
"It can be difficult to predict - you don't know who's on the pitch and who feels confident at that stage of the game to pick it up and score.
"Now it's a major talking point but I hope it stops being one soon - and we get back to scoring them."
With or without success from the spot, Bournemouth will arrive on Merseyside unbeaten in their last four matches - and it is that, rather than their narrow win at home to the Reds in December, which is encouraging Howe.
Casting his mind back, he added: "On the day we had a little bit of luck. We were out of it but we didn't give up, surrender - and then managed to end the game on a real high.
"That said, it has no relevance to this game. It's a totally different game, away from home where we hope we can get some points."
Even without Mane, Howe knows his team will be in for a tough battle, whoever Klopp selects.
"Liverpool away will be a really good test for us," he said.
"We know it's going to be very difficult - they have very good players and a manager I'm sure will be a success in the long term.
"We've played well there recently but not got any points. The next challenge is to go there and get something."
Bournemouth will be without midfielder Andrew Surman, who has a knee-ligament injury and may possibly be out for the remainder of the season.