Joe Gomez has pledged to come back “better and stronger than ever” as the Liverpool defender begins his recovery from knee surgery.
The 23-year-old went under the knife earlier this week after being forced to withdraw from the England squad with an injury suffered in training.
Liverpool say the operation was a success but refuse to put a timescale on Gomez’s recovery, though he is expected to miss a large portion of the 2020-21 campaign.
It is the latest injury to have hampered the career of the former Charlton youngster, who was sidelined for a year after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury playing for England's Under-21 side in 2015.
An ankle problem that required surgery saw him miss the 2018 Champions League final and that summer’s World Cup. He also missed four months of the following campaign with a fractured leg.
Despite this latest disappointment Gomez is positive about his recovery and says his previous battles with injury stand him in good stead for his latest battle to return to fitness.
“The road to recovery has already begun,” he wrote on Twitter .
“I’ve been here before, I know what it takes and I’ll be back better and stronger than ever.
“I’m obviously gutted, but this is part of God’s plan and I believe everything happens for a reason.
“I’d like to thank everyone for their well wishes and messages of support. I’m focused on my recovery and supporting my team mates in every way I can. See you soon.”
Gomez’s absence leaves Liverpool desperately short of defensive options , with fellow centre-back Virgil van Dijk also expected to miss the majority of the campaign with a knee injury.
Midfielder Fabinho, who has regularly filled in as a central defender, is still recovering from a hamstring injury suffered against FC Midtjylland in the Champions League last month, leaving only Joel Matip and Nathaniel Phillips available as natural centre-back options for Reds manager Jurgen Klopp.
Full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold is also likely to be out until December with a calf problem sustained in last weekend’s Premier League draw at Manchester City.