Liverpool have confirmed Fernando Torres will be out for "between 10 and 15 days'' after a scan on his right hamstring today.
Torres was already expected to miss Saturday's Premier League match against Wigan, next week's trip to face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League and the following Sunday's crunch fixture at Chelsea.
And a scan today has confirmed he will be out for at least 10 days after doctors detected a tear in his right hamstring suffered in Spain's World Cup qualifier in Belgium last night.
Liverpool also revealed Dutch attacker Ryan Babel is "a major doubt'' for the Wigan match after spraining his left ankle on international duty.
Reds spokesman Ian Cotton said: "A scan on Fernando Torres has shown a tear in his right hamstring which will sideline the player for between 10 and 15 days.
"Ryan Babel has sprained his left ankle and is a major doubt for Wigan on Saturday.''
Earlier today Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez said: "I am very disappointed about this, because it now looks like we will lose Fernando for three very important games.
"We have Wigan at home and Chelsea away in the league and Atletico Madrid away in the Champions League, so to lose any players is a big blow.
"The initial reports say Fernando is likely to be out for around 10 days, and that would mean he would miss these games.''
Liverpool lost Torres for a spell last season after an injury on international duty, and Benitez is a firm supporter of a system that would see players involved in fewer games for their country.
He said: "There are too many international games, and the demands on the players are too much. Someone needs to analyse this situation, because it is putting the players at risk of injury.
"Maybe the answer is for there to be a two-tier qualifying system, because there are too many games in the qualifiers for the World Cup and the European Championships which are not competitive but which still place great demands on the players.
"These fixtures are unnecessary, and maybe it would be better if the weaker countries played one another and the best of them went to play the stronger countries in the qualifiers.''
Benitez's mood was further darkened by Babel's injury in Holland's qualifier against Norway.
With two key players out, Benitez wants his squad to show the strength witnessed against Manchester United - when victory was secured without the injured Torres and Steven Gerrard.
He said: "It is important that we show our strength at times like this.
"We cannot do anything about the injuries, so it is up to the players to come in and do a good job if they are needed.''