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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 Jurgen 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 is likely to miss upcoming matches against Wolves, Everton and Newcastle, with doubts currently over whether he will be ready for the Champions League visit of Real Madrid on February 21.

Nathaniel Phillips and Jurgen Klopp file photo
Liverpool are unlikely to loan out Nat Phillips (pictured) due to Ibrahima Konate’s  hamstring injury.

Liverpool recalled 21-year-old centre-back Rhys Williams from a loan spell with Championship side Blackpool last week to cover the possibility of Phillips leaving in this window.

Phillips, 25, has made just five appearances this season and, while Liverpool had no intention of pushing him out of the door, there was a belief he could move on with a number of clubs interested in him.

However, Konate’s injury makes that scenario highly unlikely, with Joe Gomez and Joel Matip Klopp’s only two fit senior centre-backs.