Virgil van Dijk has disrupted Liverpool’s plans to face Manchester City by suffering an untimely injury which will delay his Premier League debut.
Goal can confirm that the issue is nothing more severe than a tight hamstring, but the ailment is serious enough to keep him out of Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI on Sunday.
It could be that Van Dijk misses out on a crunch clash completely, with the Reds needing to weigh up how much of a risk they would be taking by including him on the bench.
Klopp may need added security at the back at some stage against City, with Pep Guardiola’s runaway leaders having been full of goals this season.
Van Dijk was acquired in a record-breaking £75 million deal for occasions such as this, with those at Anfield aware of the need to plug defensive leaks.
The Dutchman enjoyed a dream debut when netting the winning goal in an FA Cup third round derby date with Everton, but his introduction to top-flight action on Merseyside will have to wait.
In his absence, Klopp is expected to hand Dejan Lovren a recall alongside Joel Matip at the heart of his back four.
Whoever gets the nod will be hoping to help Liverpool extend a remarkable record against City on home soil.
The Blues have not won at Anfield for 15 years, but they have been in imperious form this season and handed Klopp’s side a 5-0 humbling in the reverse fixture between the two sides at the Etihad Stadium back in September.