Centre-back Virgil van Dijk has damaged knee ligaments and is set to undergo surgery, English Premier League clubside Liverpool confirmed on Sunday.
The Dutch defender was injured in Saturday’s Merseyside derby draw against Everton.
He was substituted early in the game when Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made a reckless challenge in the box, which left Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp fuming.
“Liverpool can confirm Virgil van Dijk will undergo surgery on the knee injury he sustained during Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Everton,” the club said in a statement.
“The centre-back damaged knee ligaments following an incident involving Blues goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after six minutes at Goodison Park.”
The club did not specify a timescale for the 29-year-old defender’s return to action.
However, cruciate ligament injuries normally take months to recover from.
It has potentially ruled Van Dijk out for the rest of the season while also dealing a blow to the Netherlands ahead of the Euros next year.
Reigning league champions Liverpool are second in the standings after five games, three points behind Everton.
An ever-present leader in the backline, the 75 million pounds (96.85 million dollars) club-record signing has played 50 games in each of the last two seasons for Liverpool.
These have included every league match.
Liverpool are also short in central defence with Joe Gomez and Joel Matip the only fit senior centre-backs available ahead of a congested schedule.
They play six times in 18 days before next month’s international break.
Liverpool begin their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign at Ajax Amsterdam on Wednesday.
Van Dijk’s absence leaves another hole at the back with goalkeeper Alisson Becker also sidelined with injury.