Huddersfield Town have been dealt a significant injury blow before Saturday's (28 October) Premier League trip to Liverpool following conformation that young midfielder Philip Billing is expected to be sidelined for the rest of 2017.
Head coach David Wagner reiterated at his pre-Red Devils press conference that the issue was "serious" and that a decision would be made this week on whether or not Billing, struck painfully on the ankle by a pass from teammate Rajiv van La Parra, required surgery.
Huddersfield confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that the Danish Under-21 international would indeed "undergo surgical management of the lateral ligament complex of his right ankle" and estimated his recovery timeline at approximately 12 weeks.
"Phil has had surgery on his ankle today and we would all like to wish him a speedy recovery," said Wagner, who will go head-to-head with former Borussia Dortmund mentor Jurgen Klopp at Anfield. "The focus now is to help him return fitter and stronger than before, so he is ready to help us for the rest of the Premier League season."
Billing has made 51 appearances across all competitions for Huddersfield since being promoted to the senior squad in 2014, playing 28 times last season as the unfancied Terriers beat fellow surprise package Reading on penalties in the Championship play-off final to win promotion to the top tier of English football for the first time in 45 years.
Huddersfield could also be without Elias Kachunga against vulnerable Liverpool after the Democratic Republic of Congo striker suffered a back problem in that first defeat of United since 1952. Michael Hefele (achilles) and Chelsea loanee Kasey Palmer (hamstring) remain out alongside long-term absentee Jon Gorenc Stankovic (knee), although Colin Quaner (calf) could feature after returning to first-team training this week.
Record signing Steve Mounie made a welcome return from a heel complaint against United, replacing second goalscorer Laurent Depoitre for the final 20 minutes.
As for Liverpool, influential forward Sadio Mane remains absent with a hamstring injury sustained on international duty with Senegal. Georginio Wijnaldum missed the recent 4-1 drubbing by Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium with a knee problem, while Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Bogdan are all still out.