Liverpool centre-back Sebastian Coates will be out for most of the season after injuring his knee while playing for Uruguay, manager Brendan Rodgers revealed on Thursday.
The 22-year-old joined Liverpool from Nacional in August 2011 but has made only 12 English Premier League appearances in that time.
He sustained the injury to his right knee in the closing stages of Uruguay's friendly against Japan in Miyagi last week and is due to undergo surgery in Sao Paulo on Friday.
"I feel for big Seba," Rodgers said. "He has obviously played in the latter part of that game and picked up a similar injury to what Martin Skrtel had last year. It is probably going to rule him out for most of the season, which is a big problem. He's never given me a moment's problem since I came in here.
"This was probably a year where he needed to go out and play," Rodgers continued. "This has unfortunately put an end to that."
Rodgers selected Daniel Agger and new signing Kolo Toure in central defence for Liverpool's opening 1-0 win at home to Stoke City in the Premier League last weekend.
It has prompted speculation about the future of Skrtel, but Rodgers says he has received no bids for the Slovakian centre-back, despite rumours of interest from Napoli, who are now managed by former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez.
"I haven't been told anything about that whatsoever," Rodgers said. "It was mentioned this morning, but it is the first I have heard of it. Ian Ayre, our managing director, does a terrific job and he always informs me straight away of anything. I haven't heard anything."