After injuring his thigh for the ninth (!) time in training earlier this week, Daniel Sturridge is set to be out for the rest of the calendar year. Sturridge's injuries are concerning enough in and of themselves, but their chronic recurrence has prompted Liverpool to launch an "investigation" into whether or not there's a deeper lying issue at work.
"It’s hugely disappointing to lose a player of that quality," Brendan Rodgers admitted. "It happened in a session and it was quite innocuous. He did it when he just flicked the ball, it wasn’t a shot or anything that looked serious. But obviously he felt the pain and then when the medical team told me the next day after the scan it was disappointing.
"Whether Daniel needs to see a specialist is something that the medical team are looking into. I think that’s his ninth injury on that thigh from previous clubs and here so there is an issue there somewhere. Most players you’ll find want to play through an injury to get onto the field. Very few go out there and are 100%. The scan shows a slight tear just below where he had a previous injury."
Presumably Sturridge had been cleared to return to training in advance of Sunday's match against Crystal Palace rather than the striker choosing to play through the pain in order to make an earlier return. It doesn't take a medical degree to be convinced that it's incredibly likely that there's something else going on in Sturridge's leg, but whether that's tissue thin tendons, poor blood circulation, or just plain old witchcraft remains to be seen.
The six week layoff comes right as Liverpool were hoping to get Sturridge back from his previous stint on the sidelines nursing an injury. With Liverpool's attack being lackluster at the best of times, Sturridge's newest setback once again comes at a very inopportune time. If the medical team can find the source of the issue and determine a solution that will reduce Sturridge's injuries going forward, it will be a six weeks very well spent.