Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Liverpool forward Sadio Mane is not expected to play again this season as he prepares to undergo surgery. The influential Senegal international limped out of the second half of last weekend's Merseyside derby victory over Everton with knee ligament damage and was unavailable for the subsequent 2-2 draw with Bournemouth amid fears that his 2016-17 campaign was set to be ended prematurely.
Updating reporters on Mane's situation in a press conference held before Saturday's (8 April) Premier League trip to Stoke City, Klopp established that his top scorer would likely go under the knife and therefore play no part in the run-in. Liverpool struggled without their £34m ($42.2m) summer signing earlier in 2017, failing to win any of the three matches he missed as the result of his involvement at the Africa Cup of Nations. His latest absence could have serious ramifications for the club's hopes of cementing a top-four finish.
"Sadio will, we're pretty sure, need surgery," admitted Klopp. "We're not 100% sure when it will happen, but then it is clear his season is over. That's what I expected, actually, when I saw the video after the game.
"I thought he was lucky in this situation that not more happened, but now we are close to the end of the season and that means it will be pretty much impossible that he will play again this season. But then he'll have a long break and be ready for next season, so that's the only good news."
Liverpool's attacking stocks have been notably depleted ahead of that match against Stoke, and Klopp faces an anxious wait to discover if Philippe Coutinho will be ready to play. The fleet-footed Brazilian restored parity against Bournemouth with a late first-half strike but was withdrawn 25 minutes from time due to a sickness bug and has not been present at Melwood.
"Phil is still ill and was not at Melwood yesterday and he will not be here today," Klopp revealed. "He had a conversation with the doc and he feels much better, but it doesn't look too good. We will have to see if we [can] bring him in tomorrow. Stoke is not too far away so we will give him all the time he needs, but it will be really close."
Adam Lallana and captain Jordan Henderson are yet to return to training following respective thigh and foot injuries, although Daniel Sturridge could feature at the bet365 Stadium after rebuilding his fitness and returning to the bench at Anfield on Wednesday. Adam Bogdan, Ovie Ejaria and Danny Ings remain out.
"Adam Lallana is better, much better, but is of course no option for the weekend because he is not in training," the manager said. "He feels good, he is on a good way, but the problem with this is it is kind of a shooting muscle – one you use mainly if you shoot.
"He feels nothing in the moment, but we will need a few more days for sure before we can have him back on the pitch. It is similar to Hendo (Jordan Henderson). Hendo is also in a good way but we don't know exactly when he can be part of training again. Daniel is part of training, yesterday and today, and we will see. But no major issues."