Joe Gomez has handed Liverpool FC a devastating blow with the news that he has suspectedly picked up an anterior cruciate ligament injury which will leave him sidelined for up to nine months.
The defender suffered the issue with his right knee with just 10 minutes remaining in England under-21s' routine 3-0 victory over Kazakhstan in Coventry on Tuesday night.
Manager Gareth Southgate moved to quell fears over the severity of the injury, declaring that they were "hopeful" that it was "nothing too serious" after full-time.
The 18-year-old returned to Merseyside on Wednesday to undergo scans with the club's medical team, who discovered that Gomez had discovered significantly more extensive damage to his ACL than Southgate had stated.
And now the centre-back, who starred in a left-back role early in the season, is set to miss the rest of the Premier League campaign through the injury - which usually takes around six to nine months to recover from.
That leaves the Reds' new boss Jürgen Klopp with just three senior full-backs available, with Alberto Moreno and Nathaniel Clyne his likely first-choice options.
With Jon Flanagan out until Christmas having undergone knee surgery on a long-standing issue earlier in the year, Jose Enrique - who hasn't played for the club since an FA Cup fourth round draw with Bolton Wanderers in January, after being exiled from their Europa League squad, also another option available to Klopp.
Having nearly been sold to West Bromwich Albion on deadline day of the summer transfer window, before the deal collapsed, the Spanish left-back will be hoping that Gomez's setback will provide him with the chance to fight back into contention under a new manager.
Injury likely to leave Gomez out of action until mid-2016
Teenager Gomez made a superb start to life at the club after joining from Charlton Athletic for a measly £3.5 million in the summer and was one of the stand-out performers in pre-season under former boss Brendan Rodgers.
He started their first five consecutive league games, until giving away a needless penalty in their 3-1 loss to Manchester United saw him dropped in favour of Moreno - who has played in all of their domestic games since.
Gomez has had to settle for midweek European football since being dropped from their starting team in the league, but is now unlikely to play another competitive fixture for the club until next term - with his absence leaving Liverpool extremely light in depth defensively.
He would likely have been an important figure under Klopp, too, with his former club Borussia Dortmund having kept a watchful eye over the defender's progress last season.
Klopp, meanwhile, was accompanied by assistant manager Željko Buvač for the first time on Wednesday - as the Bosnian secured his work permit to begin working alongside the German coach ahead of their first game in charge at Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday's dinnertime kick-off.