Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp fears Sadio Mane's season is over, although the club are hoping for good news as they await the results of a scan on his injured knee.
Senegal international Mane limped out of Saturday's (1 April) Merseyside derby victory over Everton following a tangle of legs with Toffees' captain Leighton Baines.
The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday Liverpool were fearful the knock could be worse than first feared. The report suggests the former Southampton star has suffered too much swelling on his knee for the club's medical staff to fully assess the extent of the damage, sparking concern in the Liverpool camp.
Speaking to the press ahead of the visit of Eddie Howe's Bournemouth on Wednesday, Klopp was unable to provide a definitive prognosis on Mane with the results of a scan not expected until tomorrow. Rather worryingly, the Reds boss added the situation is "not very positive".
When asked about Mane, Klopp said: "It is not 100% clear. We have to wait a little bit. I can say for sure he won't be available for tomorrow. It is not very positive. But we cannot say what it is exactly."
When pushed on whether Mane would be able to return this season, Klopp's outlook grew bleaker.
"Losing Sadio on Saturday was like 'oh my God'. Can't we have one day where everything is perfect. The knee is swollen. We wait for final assessment. It's possible [his season could be over] but why should I say that now?
"Unfortunately that's possible. When a knee is swollen, it's not often I hear afterwards that it's nothing. But even then, or especially then, the more difficult a situation seems to be the better it is to handle it. Obviously our way is not the easy way, that's maybe the club history.
"It's already three days ago. We could get used to the situation. We still have wonderful players to choose. I hope we can create an outstanding atmosphere [and] make the best season we can get."
Liverpool arguably have a favourable run-in in compared to their rivals for a top-four finish, but the absence of key players could prove problematic. In addition to Mane, the club will also be without captain Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana for the visit of the Cherries, although Daniel Sturridge could be in line to make his first appearance in the league since the beginning of February.
"They're [Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson] not available but Daniel is in team training and it's good to have him back.
"We won't make any decisions now. Probably he [Sturridge] can be in the squad."
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