By Alex Stevens

Mamadou Sakho will be sidelined until the new year with a knee injury, Liverpool confirmed today.

The centre-back is expected to be out for six to eight weeks with ligament damage and will miss a glut of fixtures, including the busy festive period.

Sakho becomes the third Anfield first-teamer to suffer a serious knee injury in the last month even though scans revealed he has not followed Danny Ings and Joe Gomez by tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.

But doctors do not anticipate the French defender returning until 2016 after hobbling off during the first half of Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat against Crystal Palace last weekend.

The centre-back arrived at the Liverpool Shire hospital on Monday on crutches with his right knee in a brace as doctors took scans to determine the extent of the injury.

Sakho saw a specialist on Tuesday for a more detailed diagnosis, and Jurgen Klopp will now have to prepare for busy period without one of his key players.

The France international had fallen awkwardly, with his weight all on his right side, after competing for a high ball 36 minutes into Sunday’s Premier League match.

After receiving treatment, the Frenchman struggled to his feet and continued to play for another four minutes but he accepted the inevitable and was replaced by Dejan Lovren at the 40-minute mark.

Red alert: Jurgen Klopp is set to turn to Dejan Lovren during Sakho's absence

Red alert: Jurgen Klopp is set to turn to Dejan Lovren during Sakho’s absence

The 25-year-old, who has been one of Liverpool’s most impressive performers since Klopp replaced Brendan Rodgers at Anfield, will now miss a string of key fixtures, including the showdown against Manchester City on 21 November.

Klopp is likely to turn to Dejan Lovren to partner Martin Skrtel in the centre of defence during Sakho’s absence, with fit-again Kolo Toure as back-up.