Liverpool didn't exactly head into the international break in high spirits, but with Daniel Sturridge set to return against Crystal Palace at least things could only get better once Premier League football returned. At least assuming Daniel Sturridge didn't go and re-injure his thigh for a second time.
In related news, Daniel Sturridge has re-injured his thigh for the second time. It's the same one he injured while on England duty in September and then re-injured in October as he prepared to return to action for the first time. He limped out of training today. Results of a scan on the thigh will arrive tomorrow. His status for the weekend is doubtful.
Even if the damage isn't as serious as the first two times, it could speak to an underlying or more serious problem for the striker. It also means a serious problem for Liverpool, who have been toothless in attack since the Tottenham match at the end of August—the last match Sturridge played in for the club before falling injured.
The problems are further compounded by the fact that Mario Balotelli is currently at less than full fitness is he works to recover from a minor injury suffered while on duty with Italy. Not that a fit Balotelli has particularly helped Liverpool to score goals so far this season, as Liverpool's struggles go far deeper than which strikers are available.
In any case, those who had been hoping that Sturridge's return would magically fix Liverpool's ills—and perhaps lead to a return to the 4-4-2 diamond they had so much success with last season—are going to have to wait a little while longer. Or a lot longer, judging by the way things have gone with his injury over the past two and a half months.
If it wasn't before, now the pressure really is on Brendan Rodgers to find a way to get the players he does have going. With Liverpool's season teetering on the precipice of irrelevance, there is no longer any time left to stick with things that aren't working. And now there's no proven scorer about to walk back into the starting eleven to fix it all.