Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana has suffered an injury setback which rules him out of the FA Cup fourth-round tie at home to West Brom.
The England international missed almost four months at the start of the campaign with a thigh strain sustained in a pre-season friendly but after just seven appearances he has been sidelined again by a minor muscle tear.
“Adam Lallana has a little issue which I think, pretty sure, keeps him out for the next game,” said manager Jurgen Klopp.
“It is not a big one but it is how it is when you have a long injury.
“Adam had a long injury and then there comes a few things because he needs time again to adapt to the intensity of a Premier League game. We tried to be careful with that but obviously so far it didn’t work very well.”
Lallana has managed just one start since returning at the end of November and played a total of 221 minutes.
His absence this weekend restricts Klopp’s options in midfield as James Milner has a dead leg.
Captain Jordan Henderson looks set to return after a month out with a hamstring injury and it could also present a chance to 18-year-old Ben Woodburn, who has played just 45 minutes of senior football this season in September’s Carabao Cup defeat at Leicester.
Woodburn had initially been lined up for a loan move in January but the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, coupled with the likelihood Klopp will not replace him in this window, may present an opportunity for the Wales international.
Defender Ragnar Klavan is set to miss the tie with a muscle injury but the return of Dejan Lovren from illness should offset that.
Striker Danny Ings could be in line for his first start since October 4, 2015 - the 1-1 Merseyside derby in which he scored which proved to be Brendan Rodgers’ final game in charge.
Ings sustained the first of two serious knee injuries in Klopp’s first training session at the club and has made just seven substitute appearances since.
And although Klopp confirmed Daniel Sturridge, who is the subject of a loan bid from Inter Milan, is available for selection, Ings now appears to be above him in the pecking order and will not be leaving on loan this month.
“He is doing really well and the fact we don’t give him on loan shows already how our plans are with him,” added Klopp.
“It was a very difficult time for Danny as when I came in he got injured and since then it was ups and downs. But physically he is completely there.
“If Danny could go somewhere where he could play the next 20 games, would it be perfect for him?
“We have a lot of games to come. I don’t think a lot of things (in the transfer window) will happen in the next few days.”
Klopp will restore Simon Mignolet, who lost his place as first choice goalkeeper to Loris Karius, for the cup tie.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved