Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren has withdrawn from Croatia's squad with an abdominal injury to give club manager Brendan Rodgers a potential defensive headache.
The defender was due to play in Euro 2016 qualifiers against Bulgaria on Friday and Azerbaijan on Monday but sustained a problem in training which has ruled him out.
"During training on Wednesday Lovren felt pain in the abdominal wall. Igor Boric (a specialist) at St Catherine (Hospital) showed there was a tear and he will not be ready for performances in Sofia and Osijek," said a statement on the Croatian Football Federation's website.
Lovren is set to return to Merseyside in the next couple of days, where he will undergo further assessment by the medical team at the club's Melwood training ground.
It is understood Liverpool have had contact with the Croatian national team, but until their own staff have examined the defender they cannot make a diagnosis on the injury.
Liverpool have 10 days before their next match and if Lovren's injury is only minor then it may actually benefit them to have him back early to prepare for the trip to QPR.
It is the second successive month the club have had players injured on international duty.
Manager Brendan Rodgers has publicly expressed his displeasure at England's handling of striker Daniel Sturridge, who sustained a thigh injury in training which has caused him to miss the last seven matches.
Last month Rodgers also lost Joe Allen, who injured a knee while with Wales, and fellow midfielder Emre Can, who has been sidelined since picking up an ankle injury in the latter stages of Germany Under-21s' 8-0 win over Romania.
Rodgers is confident Sturridge will be fit for the trip to QPR but Lovren's problem, coupled with a thigh injury to Mamadou Sakho sustained in training just days after he walked out of Anfield having been omitted from the squad for the Merseyside derby, means his only two fit central defenders are Martin Skrtel - currently with Slovakia for matches against Spain and Belarus - and Kolo Toure.
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