Jurgen Klopp said he was shocked to discover Liverpool star Mohamed Salah had suffered a hamstring injury while playing for Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Salah has missed just 10 Premier League matches in six and a half seasons with Liverpool.
The 31-year-old’s impressive fitness record meant Liverpool boss Klopp was surprised to learn his forward had been forced off during Egypt’s 2-2 draw with Ghana on Thursday.
The German is now sweating on the extent of Salah’s injury and how long he will be sidelined.
“In the moment it was a shock. He felt it and we all know how rarely Mo needs to go off so there was definitely something,” Klopp told reporters on Friday.
“I don’t have any more information right now. I spoke with him last night. They are doing further assessments and then we will know more.”
After the game Egypt coach Rui Vitoria said he hoped Salah’s injury was not a big problem, adding: “I think it’s not dangerous, but let’s see if Salah recovers.”
Klopp revealed Liverpool will wait for further updates before deciding whether to send their medical staff to the Ivory Coast to check on Salah.
“It’s too early. We will see. It depends on what the diagnosis is,” he said.
“They (Egypt) will do an ultrasound and an MRI and then we will know what it is and what Egypt’s plans are.”
While Liverpool did not expect Salah to return from the Cup of Nations until early in February, a long-term injury would be a huge blow as the Premier League leaders chase the title, as well as competing for the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League.
The Reds head to Bournemouth on Sunday looking to extend their advantage at the top to five points.
Due to a combination of injuries and international commitments, Klopp will be without Salah, Wataru Endo, Kostas Tsimikas, Andrew Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Thiago Alcantara, Dominik Szoboszlai and Stefan Bajcetic.
Robertson, Alexander-Arnold and Szoboszlai are closest to a return, potentially in Wednesday’s League Cup semi-final second leg at Fulham.
Liverpool hold a 2-1 lead from the first meeting against the Cottagers at Anfield.
“They’re all positive but not ready. They’re all getting closer and closer and closer and some of them might be in team training next week but for the Bournemouth game I don’t expect anyone back,” Klopp said.
“After Bournemouth maybe for Fulham we will see how the boys do, but they are all close. Trent close, Dom close, Robbo close.”