Leicester defender James Justin has seen his season brought to an abrupt close, with an ACL injury forcing the 22-year-old onto the sidelines and under the knife.
The England Under-21 defender has been a model of consistency for the Foxes in recent times, with a regular role in full-back berths nailed down under Brendan Rodgers.
He was, however, forced from the field during an FA Cup fifth-round clash with Brighton and will not be seen again until the 2021-22 campaign.
What has been said?
“Sadly for JJ the scan hasn’t shown up so well,” Foxes boss Rodgers told reporters ahead of a meeting with Liverpool on Saturday.
“Massive blow for us. It looks like he’s done his ACL, which is a devastating blow for us.
“He’s been incredible. Whatever position he’s played, he’s been minimum 8/10.
“We hoped he would be okay. He’s in London with our doctor and trying to get all of the expertise in terms of the next step. I know the boy, he’s tough mentally, so he will come back.”
Rodgers added: “We’ve had it with Ricky [Pereira] and he’s come back fitter and stronger. That will be a source of inspiration for him.
“He was upset yesterday. He has been so robust for me. He has played nearly every game and performed to a really high level.
“He wouldn’t have been too far away from Gareth [Southgate’s] thoughts. A player who can play to JJ’s level would be great for any squad.
“He will likely have his operation soon and we’ll fight for him for the rest of the season.”
How had Justin fared this season?
The versatile defender has taken in 31 appearances across all competitions in the 2020-21 campaign.
He has registered three goals and an assist in those outings, while helping the Foxes to nine Premier League clean sheets.
His efforts have contributed to Rodgers’ side sitting third in the English top-flight table, while also making their way through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and last-32 of the Europa League, where they will face Manchester United and Slavia Prague respectively.
The bigger picture
Leicester have been leaning heavily on a settled side this season, but do boast the strength in depth that allows them to rotate.
The Foxes have fielded three and four-man defensive units over recent weeks, meaning that Rodgers can mix things up to make the most of those at his disposal.