Treble injury blow for Liverpool
Published 14/01/2010 | 16:11
Liverpool's hopes of salvaging their season have suffered a serious setback with key trio Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun all being sidelined.
The club has confirmed the three players, all injured in Wednesday's humiliating FA Cup loss to Reading, will be out for varying lengths of time up to six weeks.
Star striker Torres is the worst affected, ruled out until the end of February with a torn knee cartilage that will require surgery.
Inspirational captain Gerrard is out for a fortnight with a torn hamstring while Benayoun has fractured a rib and will not play again for around four weeks.
The news is a hefty blow for manager Rafael Benitez, who is under increasing pressure following his side's latest disappointing result.
The Reds' 2-1 loss to the Championship strugglers in an FA Cup third-round replay last night all but ended the club's chances of winning domestic silverware this season.
Liverpool are seventh in the Barclays Premier League and now out of both cups as well as the Champions League.
Having begun the season with high hopes of winning a first title since 1990, it has been a hugely disappointing campaign.
The priority is now securing a place in the top four and there is still the Europa League to play for.
Yet without players they have been regularly criticised for relying too heavily on, Benitez and his team are now facing a major challenge.