EYE ON EPL
UNITIED KINGDOM - WITH two in-form strikers out, two teams fall out of form.
Injuries to Robin van Persie and Daniel Sturridge saw Manchester United and Liverpool drop precious points in "winnable" English Premier League matches over the weekend.
Sturridge's expected two-month layoff with an ankle injury has affected teammate Luis Suarez as much as the England international.
Look at how lost and bereft of ideas the Uruguayan was in the 3-1 defeat by Hull City. He looked a pale shadow of a man with nine goals in six previous Premier League ties.
Without his trusty and tricky partner who has 11 goals in 14 games across all competitions, defenders can focus their attention solely on Suarez. He is marked tighter, given less time on the ball and offered fewer passing lanes.
With just the Reds No. 7 to worry about, Hull knew that if they stopped him, Liverpool's offence would break down - and they were proven right.
After a good start, I fear for Liverpool's European aspirations, with the season approaching its crucial stage. Brendan Rodgers' side face a run of seven games in 29 days during the festive period, including trips to Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea.
Injuries are commonplace in today's game, but Liverpool lack the squad depth - especially up front - to cover for Sturridge.
Young Philippe Coutinho struggles for consistency, while unheralded Spaniard Iago Aspas is battling injury himself.
United, meanwhile, are slightly better equipped to deal with van Persie's groin problem, which has no expected recovery date.
It is not surprising that after two seasons of largely uninterrupted football, including 90 consecutive league appearances, the 30-year-old has broken down.