Daniel Sturridge and Emre Can are reportedly set to miss Liverpool’s trip to Middlesbrough and they face a race against time to make it to the Merseyside derby.
Everton welcome their arch-rivals to Goodison Park on Monday night, and Jurgen Klopp will want both fit and available for the showdown.
Liverpool need to maintain pace with title rivals Chelsea and Arsenal, having picked up one point from games against Bournemouth and West Ham.
And with Philippe Coutinho still sidelined until the end of the year, the Reds need their first-team stars ready as soon as possible.
According to the Liverpool Echo though, striker Sturridge is still not fit having failed to fully recover yet from his calf injury.
The 27-year-old did return to light training on Monday, but tomorrow’s trip to the Riverside will come too soon for him and midfield team-mate Can (knee).
Sturridge’s problem was initially branded minor by Klopp, but the forward has now not featured in the Premier League since November 19, failing to play a part in Liverpool’s last three games.
He is not ready to take part in full training yet, but the hope is he will be named in the squad at Everton in a week’s time.
Injuries have plagued the frontman at Anfield, with Klopp preferring Roberto Firmino as a consistent feature up top.
Slaven Bilic hasn’t denied West Ham’s interest in a January move for Sturridge and regular football could lure the England international away from Merseyside.
Meanwhile, Can has been battling for a place in the team with Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum, and the duo are prioritised at present.
Can played the full 90 minutes during the recent 4-3 defeat to Bournemouth but was a surprisingly absentee in Sunday’s game with the Hammers. Just prior to the game, Liverpool revealed through the club’s official Twitter account that Can had suffered a minor knee injury.
Klopp has now given a more in-depth update ahead of a crucial week which will see Liverpool visiting Middlesbrough before the Merseyside derby at Everton, assuring that in the worst case Can will be fit to face the Toffees.
“Emre was a challenge with Divock [Origi] in training, knee on knee. Both trained on and both could do the rest of the training, but Emre had a little bit more pain so we looked a little bit more exactly on it. I never heard about this ligament, but it’s a little bit damaged,” Klopp said in the press conference.
“He’s in doubt for Wednesday, but I think [for] Everton he will be back for sure. It would be cool if he could train tomorrow, we will see. It’s painful, not really more.”