Jurgen Klopp hopes Jordan Henderson will return before the end of the season after undergoing a successful operation on a groin injury.
Liverpool have revealed their captain will be out until April at the earliest due to an injury sustained during the Merseyside derby last weekend.
The Reds boss said: “The best-case scenario, I don’t know to be honest.
“It’s not a quick one but of course we all hope there is still a possibility for him to play a few games this season, but we will see.”
In a statement released earlier on Friday, the club said Henderson will be sidelined for at least a month, ruling him out of England’s internationals in March as well.
“Henderson has successfully had a corrective procedure carried out on the adductor injury,” a Liverpool statement read.
“No specific timescale is being placed upon his return; however, the 30-year-old is ruled out initially until after the March international break.
“Henderson’s recovery will be closely monitored by the club’s medical department and his progression during his rehab work will determine when he is able to resume full training.”
Henderson will not return to the club’s AXA training complex for a while but when he does Klopp expects him to continue to be an influence in the way his other injured senior players have been.
“They all have to be influential. So many injured players not available at the moment and most of them are leaders in this group,” he added.
“Hendo is not here yet but Virgil, Milly (James Milner), Joel all have to be influential and that is what they will be and when Hendo is back he has to play this role while doing his rehab.”
Henderson, meanwhile, said he was ‘gutted’ to be sidelined.
“Obviously gutted to have picked up an injury but will do everything I can to support the team while working on my rehab,” he wrote on Twitter.
Henderson is the latest in a long line of Liverpool players to suffer a long-term injury this season.
Having deputised at centre-back due to the crisis, Henderson joins Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Fabinho on the sidelines as Liverpool’s back-up defenders continue to fall as well.
The Reds were forced to use Ozan Kabak, signed on loan from Schalke in January, alongside Nathaniel Phillips for most of the 2-0 defeat to Everton in a major shake-up to their usually solid back line.
Liverpool’s injury crisis at the back has coincided with a horrible downturn in form and the Reds have lost their last four Premier League matches at home, despite being unbeaten at Anfield since 2017 before the run started.