The full extent of an injury Xherdan Shaqiri picked up while on international duty has been revealed, leaving Liverpool sweating on his fitness for August.
The 27-year-old sustained a torn calf while playing for Switzerland against England at the UEFA Nations League finals on June 9 and is now a major doubt for the start of the new Premier League season – as the Liverpool Echo reports.
The winger impressed during his first full campaign at Anfield, helping the Reds win the Champions League while also earning a second place finish in the top flight.
Jurgen Klopp is now facing a potential selection crisis ahead of a 2019-20 campaign opener against Norwich on August, with additional key stars Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane all set to be granted late holidays after international tournaments.
The German boss confirmed the Shaqiri blow in a statement on Liverpool’s official website on Tuesday, which reads: “Shaq is still injured from the national team and it will take a while until he is in again.
“He has a tear in his calf, so he will not be involved for a while.”
The Reds will be aiming to go one better next year and wrestle the Premier League title away from Manchester City, after agonisingly finishing just a point behind their rivals last time around.
Klopp’s side did manage to win the Champions League at the start of June, which was a just reward for their superb efforts over the last 12 months, but domestic success continues to elude them.
Liverpool have not won the English title for 29 years and in order to buck that trend in 2019, Klopp will need his squad firing on all cylinders.
Shaqiri could have stepped in comfortably in the absence of Mane or Salah, who might not be ready to start the first game of the season, but it now looks as though he will need some extra time off himself.
Klopp might now be tempted to dip back into the transfer market and sign a new attacker, amid links to several top players across Europe in recent weeks.