Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Joel Matip may not return in time for Liverpool's crucial match with Manchester United a week on Sunday, meaning the Reds could be without a senior, fit centre back for the Premier League clash.
The champions' crisis at centre back has been well documented this season, with Klopp forced to turn to a number of youth players in the absence of first-choice pairing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez - both of whom are sidelined with long-term injuries.
Matip has been called upon in Liverpool's time of need as Klopp looks to add some experience to his backline, but he too has suffered numerous knocks this campaign which have seen him absent from the starting XI.
The 29-year-old was forced off midway through the second half against West Brom having suffered a groin injury, and Klopp has confirmed he will definitely miss Friday's FA Cup tie with Aston Villa - should it go ahead - and is also a doubt for Liverpool's clash with United.
“Yes, we will try working on that obviously," Klopp told reporters, via the club's official website. "Until the United game we still have nine days around about, so we try.
“He is in a good way but if it will be United or a few days later, I don’t know. After the United game we will obviously play every three days again, so I think that’s pretty sure, but for the United game, we will see.”
Should the former Cameroon international fail to recover in time for the game with United, Klopp will have a huge decision to make in the centre of defence.
Fabinho has covered brilliantly at centre back this season, though the experiment of pairing Jordan Henderson alongside the Brazilian in the defeat to Southampton clearly backfired.
The St Mary's defeat saw the tenth different combination in central defence for the champions this season, and Klopp could well be forced to call upon another of his youngsters to step up in what is arguably the club's biggest game of the season.