London (AFP) - Liverpool's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League were rocked Friday with manager Jurgen Klopp saying forward Sadio Mane will be out for the season to have knee surgery.
The 24-year-old Senegal international, who has played a major part in Liverpool's bid to finish in the Premier League top four, suffered the injury in a challenge with Everton's Leighton Baines in last weekend's Merseyside derby and had his knee in a brace all week.
There had been hopes he might avoid surgery, but Liverpool have decided the best course of action is to disregard the remaining few weeks of this campaign and get Mane fit for next season.
"I am pretty sure Sadio will need surgery but I am not 100 percent sure when it will happen, but then it is clear season over," said Klopp, whose side are third.
"That is what I half-expected when I saw him after the game. I felt he was lucky that not more happened but we are close enough to the end of the season that it will be pretty much impossible to play again this season.
"He will get a longer break and will be ready for next season. That is the only good news."
"Phil is still ill," said German boss Klopp.
"He was not at Melwood (Liverpool's training ground) yesterday and he will not be here today.
"He feels much better but we will have to see if we can bring him tomorrow."