Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed that he will likely be without midfielder David Silva for Sunday's crucial trip to Liverpool.
The Spaniard limped off at half-time against Southampton on Saturday, and it was initially uncertain whether it was precautionary or something more serious.
Speaking after the game via the club's official website, Guardiola confirmed Silva suffered a muscular injury during the game, which will almost certainly rule him out of both Wednesday's Champions League meeting with Atalanta and the trip to Anfield.
“Five minutes before half-time David told me he had little problem muscular,” Guardiola confirmed. "Will he be OK for Atalanta and Liverpool? I don’t think so.
“I didn’t speak with the doctor but when he has some muscular problems and cannot play more minutes it’s because he has something, and muscular problems normally means ten to 12 days [out].”
The meeting with Liverpool appears set to be crucial in the race for the Premier League title. Jürgen Klopp's side could increase their lead at the top of the table to nine points, whereas City could cut it to just three with a victory of their own.
However, Guardiola was adamant that he will not prioritise that match over the meeting with Atalanta, insisting he will put out his strongest side to try and win as much silverware as possible.
“Do you think we can four titles in one season by prioritising games?” he said. "No. We are going to play with the best team as possible to win in Italy against Atalanta and after that Anfield. Nobody can assure me don’t do what you have to do at Atalanta to make a better performance against Liverpool.
“The best way to face Atalanta is the way we played against Southampton. And the best way to play at Anfield is to go to Atalanta who in the last two seasons have been fighting with the tops clubs in Italy.
“They can score four, five six goals every game. We are going to play with the best team considering the regeneration, the opponent, the way they play and try to make a good performance and qualify for the next stages in February.”