Nathaniel Clyne is set to spend up to three more months on the sidelines after undergoing an operation on his injured back, but hopes to be back to challenge for a place at next summer’s World Cup.
The Liverpool defender has not played for the club since sustaining the injury in pre-season and was ruled out for “a significant period of time” by the club, with no return date specified.
Clyne resumed light-intensity running at Melwood in September, with manager Jurgen Klopp hailing “a big step” forward in his recovery, but the 26-year-old has since suffered a setback.
It is understood that Clyne underwent minor corrective surgery on his back on Monday and that he will now be unavailable to Klopp until February at the latest.
The former Southampton right-back is expected to return in time for the run-in to Liverpool’s season, with Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold having alternated at right-back in his absence.Prior to the recent 4-1 win over West Ham United, Klopp confirmed that Clyne’s rehabilitation had taken “a few steps back”.
The Liverpool manager said: “He was in a good way, running with high intensity but the muscle showed a little reaction. That was not an injury, and usually with a healthy and fit player you wouldn’t even think about it.
“In his case because it was a little sign again from the back, we took him out and it’s a few steps back again.”Clyne will also have to stake a late claim for a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for next summer’s World Cup in Russia when he returns to fitness.
The 26-year-old, often called up as a reserve to first-choice right-back Kyle Walker, has been replaced in the national team by Tottenham Hotspur right-back Kieran Trippier.