Rhian Brewster is facing the likely prospect of missing the rest of the season as Liverpool await news on whether or not their precocious 17-year-old forward will require surgery on a serious ankle injury, with Under-23 coach Neil Critchley admitting that he is set for a "significant" period on the sidelines regardless.
Brewster landed awkwardly after challenging for a header during stoppage time in the first half of the 3-2 Premier League 2 defeat to Manchester City on 12 January and received oxygen before being stretchered off the pitch.
The teenager was quickly taken to hospital and Critchley admitted that Liverpool were fearing the worst as they anxiously waited to discover whether or not he would need to go under the knife.
A decision on a potential operation should come down on Friday (26 January) after another visit to a specialist in London, but it looks as if Brewster will struggle to make it back before the end of the 2017-18 campaign whatever the outcome.
"He's seeing another specialist again and I'm expecting news on that in the next 24 hours," Critchley was quoted as saying by the Press Association. "He's going to be out for a significant period of time whatever happens. We're just waiting on the specialist to say, 'Yeah, we think it's better to have surgery' or 'no he doesn't (need it)'.
"I wouldn't want to say it's 'season over', but you're talking at least two months so there's the end of March. We finish at the end of April, early May so it's not going to give him any real time."
Considered as one of the country's most exciting young talents after winning the Golden Boot and helping England to triumph at the Under-17 World Cup in India in October, Brewster moved into Liverpool's Under-23 set-up in January 2017.
While yet to make his first-team debut, he was included by Jurgen Klopp in a senior matchday squad for the first time last April, remaining an unused substitute for a 2-1 Premier League defeat to Crystal Palace at Anfield.
Critchley is eager not to rush Brewster back into action and insists Liverpool will now concentrate on programmes that will allow him to return stronger and fitter.
"What's more important now for Rhian is we do the right thing by him and he comes back in a fit, stable condition and hopefully stronger than when he was playing for us," he added. "He had a real rollercoaster of a 2017, 2018 hasn't started brilliantly for him, but we're only a few weeks into it."
In terms of senior fitness news, The Times report that Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is available for Saturday night's (27 January) all-top flight FA Cup fourth-round tie against West Bromwich Albion after six matches out with a hamstring problem.
Danny Ings could also make his first start for more than two years, while Dejan Lovren has recovered from illness. Daniel Sturridge could feature with his future subject to much speculation, though the game is likely to come too soon for Alberto Moreno. Nathaniel Clyne remains a long-term absentee.