Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard could be out of action for up to six weeks after suffering a hamstring injury in the 4-1 win over West Ham on Saturday.
Gerrard was bearing down on goal when he attempted a shot from around 20-yards out, but the 33-year-old immediately pulled up holding the back of his leg and signalled to the bench that his day was done.
Gerrard will have a scan on Monday to determine the extent of the damage, with the worst-case scenario that he is ruled out for six weeks, although the fact that he was able to walk off the pitch without requiring assistance could hold him in good stead in his recovery.
For manager Brendan Rodgers, it was another blow to his Premier League title hopes after fellow England international Daniel Sturridge was ruled out at the beginning of the month until the end of January.
Rodgers will want Gerrard back as soon as possible as the Reds prepare for their toughest fixture run so far this season. The Merseyside club travel to Tottenham on Sunday before hosting Cardiff City the following weekend.
But it is the Boxing Day trip to Manchester City, quickly followed by a journey south to Chelsea three days later that will have Rodgers concerned with the absence of two key players.
Speaking after the Anfield victory, Rodgers said: “It was his hamstring so we just need to see how it is.
“He was outstanding in his performance, the quality of his passing, but when he went to get that pass he felt a little tweak.”
Thankfully for Reds supporters, Sturridge’s absence wasn’t felt due to another virtuoso display from the seemingly unstoppable Luis Suarez. Fresh from scoring four goals against Norwich in midweek, he netted again in the win over the Hammers, and had a hand in two other goals which could have gone his way on another day.
Suarez harassed the Irons’ defence which eventually saw Guy Demel hit the ball unknowingly into his own net, before Suarez the third goal after defender Mamadou Sakho had doubled the lead.
And with the game nearing an end, Suarez unleashed a fierce shot at goal which took a heavy deflection off defender Andy O’Brien, leaving goalkeeper Jussi Jääskeläinen stranded and falling into the empty net.
Right-back Glen Johnson admitted after that although the run of fixtures will be tough without the injured duo, they have more than enough to emerge victorious from each match.
“They are going to be tough but we will concentrate on the first one at Tottenham,” said Johnson.
“It (a title challenge) is always in the back of your mind but the only thing we can do is get as many three points as we can.
“If we are doing that, everything will take care of itself. But of course we are good enough to be up there, definitely. Any team would miss Stevie. But we have a good squad and if we can start scoring a few more away from home, it will blend in nicely with what we are doing at Anfield.”
The win moved Liverpool above Chelsea and Manchester City into second place in the Premier League table, cutting the gap between them to leaders Arsenal to five points after their draw with Everton on Sunday.