SOUTHAMPTON fear Tino Livramento could be out for the rest of 2022 with a serious knee injury.
Initial scans confirmed the specifics of the problem but just how long he will be sidelined for will become clear when the swelling on his knee subsides.
Yet he is expected to be out for up to NINE MONTHS in what is a hammer blow to both the player and Saints.
Livramento is well-liked by England boss Gareth Southgate.
And while the Qatar World Cup would likely have come too early in his development, the whizkid will almost certainly miss the tournament anyway through injury.
The right-back has enjoyed a sensational first season in the Premier League after joining Southampton for £5million from Chelsea.
The Blues have a buy-back clause of around £38m which is understood to kick in from the summer of 2023.
Livramento has made 32 appearances for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s young Saints side, scoring one goal.
But his attention now turns to recovering from the first major injury of his professional career.
Livramento went down in the 32nd minute of last weekend’s clash with Brighton clutching his left knee after an innocuous tangle with Mwepu.
The former Blues ace immediately signalled over to the bench as he screamed in pain.
The defender required six minutes of treatment on the pitch before being carried off on a stretcher.
Livramento covered his grimacing face with his hands as he left the field and was given oxygen by medics.