Tottenham lose Cristian Romero until after World Cup as Dejan Kulusevski and Richarlison near returns

 (PA)
(PA)

Tottenham defender Cristian Romero is not expected to feature again for the club before the World Cup break as he nurses a muscle problem.

The Argentina international has missed three of the last four matches with a calf strain but is expected to be fit in time for his country's opening World Cup match against Saudi Arabia on November 22.

Romero sat out Tottenham's 2-1 defeat to Newcastle but played in their subsequent draw with Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League, with head coach Antonio Conte afterwards saying he had taken a "big, big risk" in playing the combative centre-back.

He has since missed the wins over Bournemouth and Marseille, and is now not expected to feature in Sunday's visit of Liverpool, the midweek Carabao Cup third-round tie at Nottingham Forest or the home game against Leeds on November 12.

Cristian Romero is not expected to play for Tottenham again before the World Cup (PA)
Cristian Romero is not expected to play for Tottenham again before the World Cup (PA)

In the first half of last season, Romero was sidelined for nearly three months with a hamstring strain and he has since missed games with adductor and hip problems.

Conte's injury concerns are mounting ahead of the winter break, with Heung-min Son set to undergo surgery on a fracture around his eye this week and fellow forwards Dejan Kulusevski and Richarlison still not fully fit.

Kulusevski has been missing since returning from the September international break with a hamstring problem but has been training outside and is hopeful of returning before the break for the World Cup. Richarlison is also nearing a return to outdoor training after a calf strain.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg appeared to be struggling before scoring a brilliant winner with the last kick of the game against Marseille on Tuesday, booking Spurs' place in the Champions League last-16, and Conte is set to provide a fitness update on Friday afternoon before the Liverpool game.