Life-threatening acute liver failure can be triggered by a variety of factors, including common drugs such as acetaminophen. Positron emission tomography (PET) is rarely used to monitor liver function, in part because of a lack of specific imaging agents for liver function. Here we report a new PET probe, 2-deoxy-2-[(18)F]fluororibose ([(18)F]-2-DFR), for use in imaging liver function. [(18)F]-2-DFR was synthesized and validated as a competitive substrate for the ribose salvage pathway. [(18)F]-2-DFR was prepared through an efficient late stage radiofluorination. The desired selectivity of fluorination was achieved using an unorthodox protecting group on the precursor, which could withstand harsh SN2 reaction conditions with no side reactions. [(18)F]-2-DFR accumulated preferentially in the liver and was metabolized by the same enzymes as ribose. [(18)F]-2-DFR could distinguish between healthy liver and liver damaged by acetaminophen. [(18)F]-2-DFR is expected to be a useful PET probe for imaging and quantifying liver functions in vivo, with likely significant clinical utility.