There didn't look to be much in the way of a challenge or fall that forced Lucas Leiva off in the 15th minute, but it was clear immediately that he wouldn't be able to continue. A player with his recent injury record, especially at this stage in his career, knows his limitations, and Lucas quickly signaled for a substitution. Joe Allen came on in his place, and while he and Jordan Henderson saw out the remainder of the match partnered centrally, it was clear that the Brazilian's absence had an unsettling effect on the tenuous balance Brendan Rodgers has found by restoring Lucas to the side.
With such a busy schedule on the horizon, an extended layoff would be a significant blow for a side whose consistency over the past two months has at least been partially attributable to the presence of Lucas, but Rodgers noted in the post-match that there's no immediate awareness of how long they'll be missing the 28-year-old:
"We'll just have to assess it. He had a slight problem with his adductor - that's why he missed the last game [at Bolton]. He felt it again there, so we'll see what the scan says on that."
Fingers are crossed that it's only a minor strain, but it's likely that he misses Tuesday's visit from Tottenham, who were excellent in the midfield in the their 2-1 win over Arsenal on Saturday afternoon. In the absence of Lucas it's possible that Emre Can pushes forward to the midfield to partner with Henderson, though that would bring in one of Glen Johnson or Dejan Lovren at the back, neither of whom have been able to match Can's effectiveness. Pairing Allen and Henderson, as he did today, is another possibility, though that proved too lightweight at times and didn't gel in the manner we've witnessed from Lucas and Henderson.
Whatever the decision, hopefully it's only a temporary one, as Liverpool will need Lucas back in the side if they're going to make any sort of run in their three remaining competitions.