FABIO BORINI will be out until the New Year as Liverpool’s injury woes deepened.
Borini is expected to be sidelined for up to three months after undergoing an operation on a fractured bone in his foot.
The Italian originally sustained an injury in the area during the recent home defeat to Manchester United before further aggravating the problem while on international duty with Italy last week.
The 21-year-old returned to Melwood and a decision was reached for the player to undergo surgery to rectify the problem.
Luis Suarez is now the only senior striker available to Brendan Rodgers until January, when the Liverpool manager could either move in the transfer window or conceivably recall Andy Carroll from his loan spell at West ham United.
Rodgers has further injury concerns with Brad Jones on standby to make his full Premier League debut for Liverpool as Pepe Reina struggles with a hamstring injury.
Reina suffered the problem during the warm-up ahead of Spain’s World Cup qualifier against France in Madrid on Tuesday evening.
The goalkeeper remained an unused substitute in his country’s 1-1 draw, and returned to Melwood yesterday to undergo tests to determine the extent of the damage.
And with Doni still in Brazil due to personal reasons, Australia international Jones is now poised to deputise should Reina be ruled out for Saturday’s visit of promoted Reading.
Reina has not missed a Premier League game through injury since May 2007, although he was suspended towards the end of last season following his red card at Newcastle United.
Brazilian Doni was the preferred replacement, only to then be sent off himself at Blackburn Rovers, with Jones making his Liverpool league debut as a substitute at Ewood Park and then starting the FA Cup semi-final win over Everton at Wembley.
As well as concerns over Reina, Rodgers will also have limited time to work with Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson and Jonjo Shelvey ahead of Saturday’s afternoon kick-off with England’s World Cup qualifier in Poland having been delayed until Wednesday due to a waterlogged pitch in Warsaw the previous night.
Shelvey will come back into contention having served a three-match suspension, although Nuri Sahin, who has started four of Liverpool’s last six games, will be hopeful of retaining his place.
Borini’s injury means opportunity is likely to beckon for Liverpool’s burgeoning young forwards over the coming weeks.
Among them is Samed Yesil, a prolific goalscorer at international youth level for Germany who was arrived from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer.
And Sahin, who forged his reputation in Germany with Borussia Dortmund, has backed the 18-year-old to build on his debut at West Brom last month.
“Samed knows where the goal is,” said Sahin. “He can smell the goal and that is a quality you cannot teach.
“His record is spectacular and if he continues to listen, he’ll be a good player for Liverpool.”
Sahin, on a season-long loan from Real Madrid, believes there are similarities between Rodgers and his former Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp, who transformed the Bundesliga side from mid-table also-rans to double title winners.
Dortmund have won the German championship the last two seasons, with Sahin’s performance in 2011 earning him a move to the Bernabeu.
And the Turkey international added: “It will take time to take Liverpool back to where it wants to be. When Klopp came we did not have a squad to be champions.
“He changed a lot, bringing his own philosophy in. It took a while for everybody to follow it. He had to be calm and consistent. If you go on this way, in the first two or three weeks, okay, you might not get the results, but in the long-term it will go your way if you don’t change it.”