Liverpool forward Sadio Mane is facing six weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, the Premier League club said on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old was taken off in the closing stages of Senegal’s 2-0 win over Cape Verde in World Cup qualifying on Saturday.
It means Mane will miss Saturday’s clash with Manchester United at Anfield on Saturday, with early estimations suggesting the Champions League clash with Sevilla on November 21 could be his comeback date.
Mane has endured a difficult last six months after a brilliant start to his Liverpool career.
He tore the meniscus in a knee during April's Merseyside derby which prematurely ended his season and required surgery.
Having worked hard in pre-season to get back to fitness the forward began the campaign with three goals in his first four appearances, before a red card at Manchester City for catching goalkeeper Ederson with a high boot resulted in a three-match ban and halted his progress.
Since his debut in August 2016 Liverpool average 2.2 Premier League goals with Mane in the team, compared to 1.6 goals in his absence.
It’s a huge blow. Liverpool’s struggles in 2016-17 often coincided with Mane’s absence – either through injury or Africa Cup of Nations duty – as they failed to break down opponents who sat deep. The Senegalese international offers a different threat to the likes of Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho, who thrive on short intricate passing rather than runs in behind.
However, there is one crumb of comfort for Liverpool fans: the form of Mohamed Salah. The Egyptian’s desire to run with the ball at pace should prevent their attack becoming stale – although he will need one of Firmino or Daniel Sturridge to start scoring soon, or he may be left carrying the attack on his own.