Liverpool’s Sadio Mane had been ruled out of action through a hamstring injury for around six weeks.
Mane, 25, was injured on international duty with Senegal and his absence could not have come at a worse time for Jurgen Klopp with Manchester United visiting Anfield on Saturday.
The Senegalese international scored 13 Premier League goals last season despite missing the whole of January because of the Africa Cup of Nations and the final six weeks of the campaign with a knee injury.
There was little doubt that he is amongst Liverpool’s most influential players, and as a result his injury has come at a particularly bad time with Adam Lallana still struggling to regain fitness after a thigh injury.
Lallana has already been sent to the Aspetar sports clinic in Qatar as he continues his rehabilitation and is likely to return in mid-November, along with Mane who will miss the two Champions League games against Maribor and trips to Tottenham and West Ham, as well the visit of Huddersfield Town.
The Reds will still hope to have Mane in contention for their Champions League fixture in Sevilla on 21 November before they host Chelsea four days later in the Premier League.
“The winger was substituted 89 minutes into Senegal’s 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over the Cape Verde Islands on Saturday,” a Liverpool statement read. “It has now been confirmed that he picked up an injury during that fixture that could keep him out of action for up to six weeks.”
Klopp’s side have often struggled without Mané, since his move from Southampton, averaging 2.2 Premier League goals with him in the team as compared to 1.6 goals in his absence. Last season, their form fell away dramatically while Mané was at the Africa Cup of Nations, winning just one of their seven games, against League Two Plymouth in an FA Cup replay.