Liverpool look set to be without Philippe Coutinho for the trip to Southampton this Saturday, while Georginio Wijnaldum is set to replace the absent Adam Lallana.
The in-form Brazilian only returned from international duty on Wednesday afternoon, embarking on a 6,000-mile flight back to Merseyside immediately after helping his country to a 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Peru.
But the 24-year-old attacking midfielder was sent to the Spire Hospital in Liverpool for what was thought to be precautionary MRI scans on Thursday and having played 170 minutes for Brazil over the break, he is a significant doubt for the clash at St Mary’s.
Coutinho's involvement in doubt after internationals
Jürgen Klopp is already likely to be without Coutinho’s fellow midfielder Lallana, who sustained a minor groin injury in England’s 2-2 friendly draw with Spain and will miss out on featuring against his former club.
The German manager is unlikely to risk either of the pair, given their form and also their importance to the side, with Wijnaldum the favourite to replace Lallana and one of Daniel Sturridge or Divock Origi likely to come into the team in place of Coutinho.
Coutinho and his compatriot Roberto Firmino were back at Melwood on Thursday but didn’t train with their teammates, although the latter played just seven minutes for Brazil and is expected to start on the South Coast.
His countryman Coutinho has already started from the bench immediately after an international break earlier this season, playing just 14 minutes of the 4-1 home win over Leicester City back in September.
The pair were fortunate to Premier League scheduling that last month’s clash with Manchester United was pushed back to a Monday night, meaning they were able to return to full fitness in time to both start.
Lallana set to miss out with groin problem
Lallana is also unlikely to be risked with a groin problem similar to the one that he picked up in the win over Swansea City last month, forcing him to miss the October international break and limiting him to an appearance off the bench in the draw with United at Anfield.
The 28-year-old was assessed by Liverpool’s medical staff at the club’s training ground in mid-week and while there is a chance he could make the bench, as Coutinho is likely to, he is a major doubt to start so soon after his injury.
The club are however confident that Lallana’s problem is nothing too serious and that he should return to training next week.
Wijnaldum, who scored his first goal for the Reds in the 6-1 win over Watford in the final game before the break, will slot seamlessly into his role with Emre Can and Jordan Henderson both fit to start.
Nevertheless, the absence of Lallana and Coutinho will be sizable blows to Klopp - the latter contributing five goals and five assists in the league with Lallana weighing in with three goals and five assists.