Liverpool defender Joe Gomez will miss the rest of the season with a serious knee injury.
The 18-year-old started the first three games and helped keep clean sheets against Stoke, Bournemouth and Arsenal appears he has damaged his anterior cruciate ligament, which will mean he is sidelined for between six and nine months.
Gomez was injured during the latter stages of England Under 21s’ 3-0 win over Kazakhstan on Tuesday but it originally appeared that he had not been too badly hurt; he was immediately concerned but after examinations when he got back into the dressing room, it did not seem too severe, with Gareth Southgate, the head coach, saying it was ‘hopefully not too serious’.
Liverpool will not comment on the extent of Gomez’s injury but confirmation of the injury is expected in the next 24 hours.
It is a devastating blow for Gomez, who had made a superb start to life in the Barclays Premier League following his £3.5million move from Charlton Athletic in June.
His progress demanded Southgate take notice and he promoted him into the Under 21 squad for the games against Norway and the United States in September.
He started both those matches at right-back and impressed in that role against Kazakhstan before he crumpled when challenging for a ball in the 80th minute.
Liverpool can expect to receive compensation from the FA for Gomez’s wages, given he was injured on international duty, but his absence will leave Joe Gomez with a headache as he is not blessed with a large pool of defenders.