Liverpool star Diogo Jota will reportedly be sidelined for at least two months after sustaining a knee injury in the side’s Champions League clash with Midtjylland on Wednesday.
Jota, 24, had been in outstanding form since completing a £41million move from Wolves in the summer – scoring nine goals in his opening 17 apperances for his new club – and Jurgen Klopp will be devastated to be without the forward for Liverpool’s busy winter schedule.
Klopp refused to rule Jota out of Reds’ trip to Fulham when speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday – but reports coming out of Portugal on Saturday appear to have confirmed the German’s worst fears.
According to Record, the Portugal international will be out of action for the next two months, meaning Liverpool will be heavily reliant on Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino for the foreseeable future.
It’s the latest setback for the Premier League champions, who have been decimated by injuries to a host of their key players at the start of their campaign, particularly at the back where they are still without Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
Thiago Alcantara, Xherdan Shaqiri, and James Milner will also be missing at Fulham this weekend.
On a more positive note, Klopp said he was hopeful Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) and Alisson (hamstring) could both return at Craven Cottage on Sunday afternoon.
Matches Diogo Jota is set to miss for Liverpool
Fulham vs Liverpool (December 13) Premier League
Liverpool vs Tottenham (December 16) Premier League
Crystal Palace vs Liverpool (December 19) Premier League
Liverpool vs West Brom (December 27) Premier League
Newcastle vs Liverpool (December 30) Premier League
Southampton vs Liverpool (January 2) Premier League
Aston Villa vs Liverpool (January 8) FA Cup
Liverpool vs Burnley (January 13) Premier League
Liverpool vs Manchester United (January 16) Premier League
Tottenham vs Liverpool (January 27) Premier League
West Ham vs Liverpool (January 30) Premier League
Liverpool vs Brighton (February 3) Premier League
Liverpool vs Manchester City (February 6) Premier League
It means Jota could be absent for as many as 13 games for Liverpool, including both the home and away fixtures with joint leaders Tottenham.
The ex-Wolves man also looks set to miss the Reds’ encounter with arch-rivals Manchester United in the new year and their match with last year’s runners-up Manchester City on February 6.
Klopp will likely provide confirmation on the severity of Jota’s injury before Liverpool take on Fulham on Sunday afternoon.
The Liverpool head coach is anticipating a ‘proper atmosphere’ at Craven Cottage, with 2,000 allowed inside Fulham’s stadium.
‘When I do the analysis for a game, we now are on matchday 11 and I didn’t see all 11 games, but I saw the last three,’ he said.
‘Yes, of course, they are growing and that is a normal process, by the way, and when you see then the number of points in that area of the table, it is not that somebody is already out of the race or something like that.
‘They all have all the chance to stay in the league and Fulham is even in a slightly better position than others.
‘With supporters, we felt a week ago the benefit of having our crowd there, so now Fulham, a small stadium, 2,000 people in, it will be a proper atmosphere, so we have to be ready for that.’