Liverpool midfielder Arthur Melo has been ruled out for up to four months after suffering a muscle tear.
Arthur, who signed on a year’s loan from Juventus on transfer deadline day in August to help ease Jürgen Klopp’s midfield shortage, has not yet made a senior start for the club. His spell has now been wrecked before he has any chance to impress as he will undergo surgery to repair the muscle damage, with the club estimating an absence of between three to four months.
The ex-Barcelona midfielder has been trying to get match fit since his arrival on Merseyside, playing in Under-21 games and following an intensive training schedule.
But his body has let him down.
It has been a tough time for the Brazil international who joined Liverpool light on the necessary conditioning.
Arthur started pre-season training with Juve only on Aug 5, so Liverpool knew he would require a period of adaptation when completing the deal. He was effectively continuing a second ‘pre-season’ at Anfield to get him up to speed.
He was selected for the U21 game against Leicester City on Saturday – playing 90 minutes in a 1-0 win – and in the Papa John’s Trophy tie against Rochdale on Sept 20. He was desperate to prove himself before Liverpool’s current hectic schedule.
Arthur has not played any senior football since a six-minute appearance for Juve in last May’s Coppa Italia final, and was told by the Italian club he was no longer part of their plans over the summer.
Speaking last month, Klopp admitted Arthur had arrived on Merseyside short of fitness.
“Arthur needs now just football – and training, especially, that’s how it is,” Klopp said. “He wasn’t in team training for a while at Juve, so he needs proper team training – and that’s what we are doing with him.
“He needs to get used to the intensity in each competition. He is really giving his absolute all in training.”
Now Liverpool face a long wait to reap any benefit from his signing.