Liverpool full-back Jose Enrique will be out of action until February as he recovers from surgery on a knee injury.
Reds manager Brendan Rodgers said last week that Enrique, 27, would need an operation to sort out the problem, which has been troubling him all season.
The defender has played just 29 minutes for Liverpool since Oct. 5, and missed Saturday’s 3-3 draw with neighbours Everton at Goodison Park.
In the former Newcastle player’s absence at the weekend, Jon Flanagan made only his second Premier League appearance in 19 months, having been selected ahead of Aly Cissokho.
A statement on Liverpool’s official website read: “Liverpool Football Club can confirm that Jose Enrique has successfully undergone arthroscopic surgery to resolve an issue with his right knee. Enrique is expected to return to full training at Melwood in around ten weeks’ time.”
Liverpool-born Flanagan, 20, deputised at right-back in the 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on Nov. 2 after Glen Johnson had to pull out shortly before kick-off with a facial infection.
And his performance in Saturday’s Merseyside derby has won praise from Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard.
“You look at our team and our star man for me was Jon Flanagan by a country mile,” Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo. “He doesn't get many headlines but as captain of the team he was the player I am most proud of.
“I thought he was unbelievable. He's been fighting hard in training just to get in the 18, never mind the starting XI, but the manager threw him in at the deep end against a top-class player like Kevin Mirallas and I thought he was sensational. It was one of the best derby performances I have seen for many years.”
Gerrard compared Flanagan to former club vice-captain Jamie Carragher, who played in the full-back positions regularly early on in his career, before establishing himself in central defence under Rafa Benitez’s management.
“He reminds me of Carragher in a lot of ways,” the England captain said of Flanagan. “I don't think you would judge Jon in terms of ability or skill, but he is all about heart, desire, determination and fighting for the cause.”