Lyon’s Brazilian striker Fred will be out for at the rest of the year after tearing a thigh muscle in last Sunday’s 4-1 defeat of Marseille.
A scan revealed a three-inch tear in Fred’s right thigh and club doctors have said the striker will not play again until after the winter break.
Fred was forced off in the first half of Lyon’s ninth victory in 10 League games, a result which left then eight points clear of Marseille in second place.
Norway’s John Carew and 19-year-old French forward Karim Benzema are set to deputise for the injured Brazilian.
“For the 13 matches we have to play until the winter break, John and Karim will take it in turns,” coach Gerard Houllier said. “One of Lyon’s major strengths is the players always give it their best when they are called up.”