Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said that Joe Gomez is in a “pretty good” place, but stressed that the defender remains “far away” from a return to action.
The 23-year-old suffered knee tendon damage in November while on international duty with England.
As such, he subsequently underwent surgery which proved successful, but put the centre-back on a long road to recovery.
Like Virgil van Dijk, who is also on the sidelines with a knee injury, Gomez has documented his rehabilitation on social media.
He said earlier this month that he is “giving his all” and taking the recovery process a “day at a time”.
But Klopp faced fresh questions about Gomez in his latest press conference on Friday.
The manager told reporters (via Liverpoolfc.com): “Joe Gomez is actually in a pretty good place, but far away from being back.
“He walks around, looks completely normal, is not yet out on the pitch and running or even out of the gym. It’s just a really tough injury as well.
“Will he be available this season? When does the season end? May? It will be close at least, I would say.
“I don’t expect, so I would be positively surprised if he would be back this season, to be honest.”
Netherlands international Van Dijk is also facing a race to make it back before the end of the season. The 29-year-old ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in a challenge with Jordan Pickford in October.
That injury also needed surgery, but one pundit has backed the player to return ahead of schedule.
Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk fuelling defensive need
In any case, Van Dijk and Gomez will not return any time soon, leaving Liverpool sweating for options at the back.
But Joel Matip has worsened the club’s concerns. He suffered ankle ligament damage in Thursday’s 3-1 win over Tottenham and will be out for the foreseeable future.
As such, reports have indicated that West Ham’s Issa Diop is the latest player on a long list of targets ahead of the transfer window closing on Monday evening.