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Sturridge injury worries Rodgers

02 December 2013, 22:01

Kingston Upon Hull - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers fears Liverpool will struggle to replace the firepower of injured striker Daniel Sturridge after seeing his side beaten 3-1 by Hull City at the KC Stadium.

England international Sturridge has been ruled out for up to eight weeks after suffering ligament damage to his left ankle in training last week and didn't play at Hull.

He is Liverpool's top scorer this season, with 11 goals, and the highest scorer in the Premier League in 2013, with 19 goals to his name.

Rodgers also revealed Brazilian Philippe Coutinho is suffering with an ankle strain and had injections to ensure he was fit enough to be named as a substitute against Hull.

"The quality of our squad, with all due respect, isn't big enough to cope with missing two big players," Rodgers insisted.

"Daniel's out for what could be eight weeks, which is a big blow for us.

"Philippe didn't train all week. He's had an ankle strain and has had to have injections just to get on the bench.

"They're two very good players that have been very efficient for us this season."

Jake Livermore, the midfielder on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, gave Hull the lead in the 20th minute with a deflected drive from 20 yards before Steven Gerrard equalised with a free-kick seven minutes later.

David Meyler put Hull 2-1 ahead midway through the second half before Martin Skrtel headed Tom Huddlestone's chipped shot into his own net with three minutes left to seal the home side's victory.

The defeat left Liverpool seven points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal.

Rodgers challenged the rest of his forwards to fill the void and keep Liverpool in the title hunt.

"This is a very busy period we're coming into," said the Northern Irishman. "We're a squad that needs as many of our good players as possible. It's a big blow for us.

"We've got other players that will hopefully come in and stake their claim now," he added.

"The front area of the pitch has been reasonably settled with our big players but this will give someone else an opportunity to come in.

"This little period now will test us. We've got players who will come in and it's a great opportunity for them to stake their claim in the team.

"Hopefully, we can get back to winning games."

But there was no denying Hull deserved a first win over Liverpool in the 109-year history of the East Yorkshire club.

Promoted to the Premier League last season, Hull have enjoyed a promising start to the current campaign and manager Steve Bruce said he hoped the victory over Liverpool would increase his players' self-belief.

"It's always hard, when you bring a team out of the Championship, to give them that belief," said Bruce.

"Some of that squad have hardly played in the Premier League," the former Manchester United captain added. "It gives them a little bit of self-belief that they can play here, as long as they're playing like they are.

"That's the difficulty of the Premier League, every week, we've got to be at our best.

"There's only a couple of games where we haven't played well and I don't think it's any fluke that we're sitting in the top 10 in the Premier League.

"You can talk about tactics and whatever but the 11 players we put out there performed to a level which I've grown accustomed to.

"We've made a real fist of it. Let's hope we can continue it -- that's the hard part."




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