Liverpool U23s captain Matty Virtue is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering ankle ligament damage.
The news comes as a significant blow to Neil Critchley’s side, with Virtue having capped a superb start to the season by leading his team on six goals.
His absence comes following his late withdrawal from Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Leicester City earlier this month, in which he had opened the scoring on 11 minutes.
Though the length of his recovery is yet to be confirmed, Virtue looks certain to miss Wednesday evening’s International Cup clash with Villarreal and Sunday’s mini-derby away to Premier League 2 leaders Everton.
He also looks a doubt for December meetings with Bournemouth and Hertha Berlin in the Premier League Cup and International Cup, respectively, as well as league fixtures against Arsenal and Swansea.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com, U23s boss Critchley said: “Matty is going to be out for a good few weeks unfortunately.”
“It was an innocuous incident where he went over on his ankle. There was no one near him really, and it was late on in the game.”
“Unfortunately, we have lost him for a number of weeks and he is going to be a big miss for us because he has been playing like a captain and scoring goals from midfield.”
Virtue has started every league game for the young Reds so far this campaign after spending the second half of last season on loan at Notts County.
The midfielder made 15 appearances across all competitions at Meadow Lane to help the Magpies seal a fifth-placed finish and a spot in the League 2 play-offs.
He featured in the first of two legs against Coventry City as his temporary employers were beaten 5-2 on aggregate.
Having since returned to Merseyside, he has reestablished himself as one of the more experienced figures in the club’s youth system.
Time on the sidelines marks a cruel blow in his likely bid to secure another taste of regular first team football when the transfer window re-opens in January.