Liverpool could start the new season without Mamadou Sakho due to an Achilles injury while fellow centre-back Martin Skrtel has arrived in Istanbul ahead of his proposed move to Fenerbahce.
Only last week Sakho, 26, learned that proceedings opened against him following a failed drugs test in March had been dropped by UEFA, meaning he is now free to play having served an interim 30-day ban which saw him miss the Europa League final and cost him a place in France’s Euro 2016 squad.
However, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has revealed his central defender is now due to be sidelined for another month because of an injury which had been troubling him towards the tail end of the previous campaign.
“Mama had a little issue with his Achilles when he was playing, one day on, one off, this kind of thing,” Klopp said in quotes published in several national newspapers.
“When he had his little ‘break’ he used the time to have a little bit of treatment and that now means another three or four weeks before he can train again.
“There was no surgery, he is just not about to train at the moment. He has got some rehab of course and it’s not too good a situation for him, for us, everybody.
“It’s not important what I could say because everyone thinks the same. He’s here, he’s not available at the moment but he is doing rehab. We will see how he reacts to that and then when he can play again.”
Sakho has been out of action since the Merseyside derby on April 20 after a sample he gave following the Europa League tie with Manchester United was found to have a fat-burning substance in it.
It is believed the France international may be considering his legal options having been cleared to return to the game.
“I cannot say too much as a manager. I don’t know exactly what will happen now from Mama’s side or UEFA’s side,” Klopp added.
“But as a human being I can say it’s a sad story. He didn’t play now for three and a half months. That’s obviously not really cool but we all know that doping is a very serious thing and we cannot have that.
“But I am sure they tried to do the right thing. Others have to talk about this because I don’t know what I am allowed or able to say. That’s one thing and the other is that Mama is currently injured.”
Skrtel to Fenerbahce
Klopp’s central defensive options are set to be depleted further after Skrtel flew to Turkey on Tuesday night to put the finishing touches to his £5million move to Fener following an eight-year stint at Anfield.
The 31-year-old was pictured holding a Fenerbahce scarf at Istanbul Airport and he told reporters he expects to finalise his switch on Wednesday.
With Skrtel nearing a departure, Sakho currently injured and Kolo Toure having recently been released, Klopp is light in that area even after acquiring Joel Matip from Schalke already this summer.