Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is out until February after suffering ankle ligament damage in training last week and could force manager Brendan Rodgers to raid the transfer market in January in search of a replacement in order to prevent the club's title challenge being derailed.
The 24 year old has scored 22 goals for the Reds in all competitions since joining from Chelsea for £12m last January and has formed a deadly partnership with Luis Suarez in attack, spearheading the club's pursuit of a return to the Champions League.
But following an innocuous training ground incident Sturridge has been ruled out for eight weeks in a huge blow following Liverpool's impressive start to the campaign.
"He's probably going to be out for six to eight weeks," Rodgers said prior to Liverpool's Premier League game at Hull City. "It was something we thought was never going to be as serious as that to be honest.
"He slipped over in training, we thought initially it was his toe. He got brought inside straight away and he was taken for a scan straight away and it showed he's suffered a ligament strain so it's quite serious and it's a big blow for us because he's been brilliant since he came in."
Sturridge has suffered from a series of foot and thigh problems this season, amid scoring nine Premier League goals for Liverpool, and played for England against Germany following an injection.
While the injury is not thought to have led to this latest problem, Sturridge's fragile fitness, which forced him to spend the summer rehabilitating from an ankle problem, is of concern to Rodgers who could now venture into the transfer window for extra resources.
Iago Aspas is a recent returnee from injury but has struggled during the early days of his Premier League career while Fabio Borini is on loan at Sunderland but has made three starts in as many months for the Blacks Cats.