Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has confirmed that centre-back Joël Matip will likely need another two weeks to recover from his knee injury.
Matip has not been seen since 20 October as a result of the issue, and Liverpool have always been reluctant to confirm a definitive recovery period, so as to allow Matip all the time he needs to get back to full fitness.
Speaking after his side's 3-0 win over Bournemouth (via the club's official website), Klopp admitted that Matip has faced some setbacks in his recovery and is not expected to return for at least two more weeks.
“Everything in our life is all under pressure. All the little things have to heal as quickly as possible, but here it is taking the normal amount of time,” said Klopp.
“It was not like after four weeks or so that it was already as we wished, so we have to wait another two weeks I would think and then we will see.
“But then he will have been out for six weeks or so, if it is perfect, fine, but he might need to rebuild his physical things as well, which is not too cool, but it is nothing serious. It will be fine, but the problem is between now and then, we play ten times and that is the situation.”
Matip has already been left out of the squad which will travel to Qatar to compete in the Club World Cup, while he is expected to miss league matches against Watford, West Ham United and Leicester City at least.
He will also be forced to miss Tuesday's Champions League clash with Red Bull Salzburg, as well as the Carabao Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa.
A return in Liverpool's meeting with Wolverhampton Wanderers on 29 December is still ambitious, although Klopp's words suggest that Matip may have at least returned to training by then.
Fortunately, Liverpool will still be able to rely on Dejan Lovren. The defender limped off during the first half of the Bournemouth game but has since returned to training, suggesting his issue was nothing serious.
For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!