Nathaniel Clyne has been dealt another setback at his continues to recover from a long-standing back injury, with the Liverpool midfielder set to miss another three months after undergoing corrective surgery on Monday.
The Independent report that the 26-year-old still hopes to make England's squad for the World Cup, despite not playing since the end of last season and now facing the prospect of being sidelined until February at the earliest.
Liverpool defender Nathaniel Clyne faces a further three months on the sidelines after undergoing back surgery today.— Chris Bascombe (@_ChrisBascombe) November 13, 2017
Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier look to be the pair in command of the right-back slots as things stand, but Clyne was a regular before his injury and could take advantage of a loss of form or fitness from either of his rivals to press his case when he returns to fitness.
Jurgen Klopp first admitted that the injury could be worse than first feared back in September, saying: "Nathaniel is working hard on his rehab and we have kept a close eye on his progress, but the reality is we are looking at some time still before he is back and available for selection.
"I am told it will be longer than just a couple of weeks, so we will continue to monitor and assess. It is pretty certain he'll not be available for the majority of the Champions League group matches. If we are fortunate enough to still be in UEFA competition in the New Year he could be added to the squad then.
"What is positive for us is how Joe [Gomez] and Trent [Alexander-Arnold] have stepped up and grasped their opportunities."
Indeed, Gomez has taken his chances to the point that he was called up to Gareth Southgate's England squad for their November friendlies against Germany and Brazil, making his international debut in the 0-0 draw with Germany at Wembley and marking himself as a genuine challenger for his clubmate's place on the plane for Russia in the summer.