Liverpool center back Joel Matip is likely require surgery on a thigh injury suffered during the Premier League win over Crystal Palace at the weekend, the club have confirmed.
Matip, who missed most of December through injury and also had a thigh problem in November, was able to play the full 90 minutes of the 2-1 victory, but medical tests after the game later revealed that going under the knife may be the only way to heal him.
Should it be decided that the surgery will go ahead, the Cameroon international is set to miss what remains of the season while he recovers.
The 26-year-old Matip, signed as a free agent in 2016 after leaving Schalke 04, has been a regular starter when fit this season and his expected absence will be a big blow for the Reds.
It will put extra pressure on Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren to stay fit and on top of their game, especially as talented youngster Joe Gomez is also nursing an injury problem that will potentially keep him out for the next few fixtures at least.
Ragnar Klavan, who hasn't started a game since New Year's Day and hasn't even made the bench for seven of the last nine Premier League games, is the only other fit center back.
Liverpool's season will continue with a huge Champions League quarterfinal clash against Manchester City at Anfield on Wednesday, followed by the Merseyside derby against Everton at the weekend, and then the return leg with City just three days after that.