As Liverpool prepare to take on West Ham at Anfield, injuries have become the main talking point.
Liverpool find themselves without captain Steven Gerrard for the game following an injury sustained while playing for England. The injury has been confirmed as a “significant” Grade 2 hamstring tear by team doctor Peter Brukner.
Aside from the enigmatic talisman, the Reds also find themselves without Joe Cole (hamstring), Daniel Agger (calf), Jay Spearing (ankle) and Lucas Leiva, who sits out on a one-game suspension following his red card at Stoke.
On the flip side, Liverpool do welcome back to the ranks Fabio Aurelio, Dirk Kuyt, Fernando Torres and Martin Skrtel as they go in search of three points following a defeat and draw away from home in their last two games.
While the FA confirm that Liverpool are set to receive an estimated £500,000 from their insurers following the injury sustained by Gerrard, manager Roy Hodgson was keen to keep his visible disappointment to a minimum and let the matter pass.
“As Liverpool manager I am frustrated and disappointed to lose such an important player for such a long period of time,” he said.
The Christmas break and the opening of the next transfer window cannot come quickly enough for the Reds, whose depth will be exposed if any of the current first XI suffer an injury.
Yet, it remains to be seen whether NESV and John Henry will focus their recruitment efforts on the summer or a midseason opportunity.
It’s not just Liverpool that have troubles on the injury front as West Ham see their squad affected by the loss of Da Costa (ankle), Haim (ankle) and Noble (appendicitis), as well as the long-term injuries to Edgar, Kurucz, Collison and Hitzlsperger.
A point or more for West Ham will see them come off the bottom, but a win for Liverpool would keep them in touch with the pack chasing the top four.