Mohamed Salah is out of the Champions League semi-final second leg against Barcelona at Anfield, leaving Liverpool hoping the striker will be ready to add to his 22 Premier League goals in a crucial home finale against Wolves on Sunday.
The timing of the injury, allied with a muscle injury for fellow frontman Roberto Firmino, could scarcely be worse for Liverpool’s Champions League and Premier League title prospects.
Although Firmino has ten fewer Premier League goals than Salah’s total of 22, the Brazilian has an identical record to Salah in the Champions League, scoring four goals in 11 appearances.
Out-of-contract Daniel Sturridge is the only other orthodox striker to have scored for Liverpool in the Champions League this season, leaving the onus on Sadio Mane, who has an impressive 20 goals in 35 Premier League appearances, to lead the line against Barcelona.
Senegal striker Mane also has four goals in 11 appearances, but will need to be more ruthless than he was at Camp Nou in the Champions League semi-final first leg.
“No-one wants to deliver more than the boys in our dressing room,” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
“I’ve spoken before about how wanting something isn’t enough on its own – and my god, do our boys go beyond just wanting.
“Tonight we ask of our boys to go again and dig even deeper than they have already.
“The amazing thing is that they need no words, no encouragement, no outside motivation. They don’t seek excuses.”
Mohamed Salah injury news
Egypt striker Salah was stretchered off following a collision with Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka as the pair competed for a ball during Liverpool’s dramatic 3-2 Premier League win on Saturday.
Salah lay motionless on the St James’ Park pitch in the aftermath of the clash, just days after Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen had to be examined by a neurologist after sustaining a shocking head injury in Spurs’ Champions League semi-final first leg loss at home to Ajax.
“He got the hip of the goalie on his head and was on the ground,” Klopp said of Salah’s plight.
“The doctor had to make the decision whether to take him on or off the pitch.
“When we got in the dressing room he was sitting there watching the game. He watched the game on television while it was still on and he was fine.
“It’s concussion, and that means he would not even be allowed to play, so that’s it – that’s all.
“He feels okay but it’s not good enough from a medical point of view. He’s desperate to play but we cannot do it.”