Liverpool’s new goalkeeper Loris Karius has been ruled out for eight to 10 weeks with a broken hand.
The £4.7million summer signing from Mainz was injured in Wednesday’s defeat to Chelsea in Pasadena. Press Association Sport understands he will fly home on Friday and is likely to require surgery.
Karius was brought in as competition for established number one Simon Mignolet and there was a realistic chance he would have started the Reds’ opening match at Arsenal on August 14.
The German had a scan on Thursday after complaining of some discomfort, and his worst fears have been confirmed.
Karius turned down a place in Germany’s Olympic squad in order to fight for a starting place at his new club.
Fellow new signing Alex Manninger, a veteran signed from Augsburg on a free transfer, will now deputise for Mignolet for the start of the campaign.
Liverpool face AC Milan in the International Champions Cup on Saturday night when England duo Daniel Sturridge and Nathaniel Clyne could play their first part in pre-season after returning from extended leave following Euro 2016.
The pair remained at the club’s Palo Alto training base for extra sessions rather than travel for the game against Chelsea but both are now working with the main group.
Belgians Mignolet, Divock Origi and Christian Benteke are slightly further behind in their programmes but are likely to be involved in one of the next two matches, with Roma next after Milan on Monday.