Liverpool have been dealt another defensive blow after centre-back Ibrahima Konate was ruled out for up to three weeks with a hamstring injury.
With Virgil van Dijk not expected to return from a similar problem for at least a fortnight, it leaves Jürgen Klopp short of options and is likely to scupper any potential deadline-day move for Nat Phillips.
Konate was injured in Sunday’s FA Cup exit at Brighton, and it is understood he will likely miss upcoming matches against Wolves, Everton and Newcastle United.
There are doubts over whether he will be ready for the UEFA Champions League visit of Real Madrid on February 21.
Liverpool recalled 21-year-old centre-back Rhys Williams from a loan spell with English Championship side Blackpool last week to cover the possibility of the 25-year-old Phillips leaving in this window.
Phillips has made just five appearances this season.
While Liverpool had no intention of pushing him out of the door, there was a belief he could move on with some clubs interested in him.
However, Konate’s injury makes that scenario highly unlikely, with Joe Gomez and Joel Matip being Klopp’s only two fit senior centre-backs.