Virgil van Dijk is unlikely to play again this season, as he continues his recovery from a damaged ligament in his foot, the club has confirmed.
The centre-back was injured in the 3-0 home win over Leicester City, in January, and has been sidelined since then.
Claude Puel explained at his press conference today: “It’s a long injury and we will see if he comes back before the end of the season. It’s a long injury for him."
Van Dijk damaged a ligament in the sole of his foot during the victory over the Foxes and required surgery as a result. Although the procedure was relatively routine, the placement of the injury means that it takes some time to heal.
The club hoped he would recover in time to feature before the end of the season, but, while his treatment and recovery is progressing well, the Dutch international will not be risked unnecessarily.
Elsewhere, Puel confirmed some positive news on the injury front this afternoon, revealing that Charlie Austin could return to action from a long-term shoulder injury in about three weeks.
"Charlie has made progress,” he said. "He needs to see his doctor [in the United States] from the surgery, but all the process is good for him.
"At the moment he trains alone, but he is doing good work and I hope he can come back in three weeks.”