Liverpool have been cursed by the international break once again after defender Dejan Lovren picked up an abdominal wall injury which will see him miss the European Championship qualifiers against Bulgaria and Azerbaijan.

Gordon Schildenfeld will replace Lovren for the double-header after the player suffered a tear during training on Wednesday ahead of the games this week.

The 28-year-old, who has been an ever-present this term since joining from Southampton, will return to Liverpool's Melwood training ground for the club to learn the full extent of the problem but a muscle tear could lead to an extended spell on the sidelines.

"During training on Wednesday, Lovren felt pain in the abdominal wall. Igor Boric (a specialist) at St Catherine (Hospital) showed there was a tear and he will not be ready for performances in Sofia and Osijek," the Croatian FA confirmed.

The national association later wrote on Twitter: "Gordon Schildenfeld will replace injured Dejan Lovren in Croatian squad for European qualifiers. Good luck with recovery."

Liverpool face Queens Park Rangers on 19 October in the resumption of their season and will hope the Lovren's injury is only minor ahead of a busy period of the campaign.

The injury is the second suffered by a Liverpool player during successive international breaks, after Daniel Sturridge picked up a thigh problem while training with England in September.

Sturridge has not played for the club since the blow but could recover for the trip to QPR, which would come a full six weeks after the injury occurred following the friendly win over Norway.

Reds manager Brendan Rodgers later accused England's medical team of miss-managing Sturridge's fitness leading to the injury, which has seen him miss the last seven games in which the club have won just three times.

As well as Sturridge, Liverpool are already without midfielder Joe Allen and French defender Mamadou Sakho while Glen Johnson, Emre Can and Jon Flanagan are also out.