Initial reports suggested Lucas Leiva would miss six to eight weeks with damaged medial ligaments following a collision in last Saturday's match against Aston Villa. It was an injury that left Liverpool looking dangerously thin in midfield, with Steven Gerrard, Joe Allen, and Jordan Henderson the only remaining senior options.
Given Joe Allen has spent much of his time at Liverpool injured and Gerrard recently missed a month, fans were rightly nervous about losing not only the club's only qualified defensive midfielder but also of being left in a position where the club would be one injury from having to consider playing 16-year-old Jordan Rossiter.
Lucas briefly raised hopes when he suggested reports of his injury had been greatly exaggerated and that he'd only miss a few weeks—though how people read "a few" ranged anywhere from two or three weeks to four or five. Now, though, manager Brendan Rodgers has dashed even that sliver of relative hope.
"We're all in it together, we've just been very unfortunate with injuries to key players, and Lucas adds to that" said Rodgers. "First of all, personally I am disappointed for Lucas because he's been very, very important for our squad this season. It was something that was innocuous really and has put him out for a few months."
Though the definition of "a few" can vary greatly, as proven by the wildly differing interpretations of Lucas' suggestion he'd only miss a few weeks, in this context it seems likely Rodgers is suggesting the midfielder will miss two to three months. It's a timeline that puts the originally reported six to eight week absence on the hopeful end of the spectrum.
"Hopefully he'll get back sooner rather than later," added the manager. "He'd been in good form this season and had worked his way back into the Brazil squad. Knowing what he is like, he'll be back sooner rather than later—and he'll do everything in his power to get back. In the meantime, that leaves us short of a really good player."
Fans already crying out for midfield reinforcements will now be desperate to see the club strengthen in the middle of the pitch. The alternative—going the next two months with three senior midfielders, none of whom are fully qualified to fill in for Lucas—seems antithetical to Liverpool's hopes of making it back into the Champions League.