Daniel Agger and Ryan Babel added to Liverpool's injury woes on Saturday in a lively 2-2 English Premier League draw with big-spending Manchester City at Anfield.
A win, in what under-pressure Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez had described as a potentially make-or-break match for his side's domestic ambitions, would have sent either club temporarily fourth in the standings.
Instead, City chalked up a sixth consecutive draw, one short of the Premier League record, while Liverpool had to rely on an equaliser from substitute Yossi Benayoun to salvage a point and stay seventh.
Benitez, whose depleted side are in danger of going out of the Champions League next week, was forced into making two unscripted substitutions within the first 18 minutes of a scrappy first half.
Agger collapsed with a gashed forehead in the fifth minute after clashing with Kolo Toure in the goalmouth as City keeper Shay Given made the save of the match to prevent Liverpool taking the early lead.
Benitez told Sky Sports Television that the Danish defender, who was carried off on a stretcher with concussion, had five stitches to the wound.
Babel followed him off with an ankle injury and was replaced by Benayoun, making an early return from a hamstring injury after travelling to Serbia for treatment involving the use of horse placenta.
"I'm a little bit disappointed because we had chances at the end," said Benitez, whose team have now won just once in 10 games. "But with the problem that we had before, the two substitutions after 18 minutes, to still come back we showed very good character.
"Until the last minute we were pushing and pushing...I think in the circumstances it was a very good performance from the team."
Defender Martin Skrtel brought the match to life in the 50th minute with his first goal for Liverpool, the Slovakian defender escaping Emmanuel Adebayor to get the final touch to a free kick whipped in by Steven Gerrard.
Adebayor made up for it by heading in the equaliser from a corner kick 18 minutes later.
Two goals in the space of 74 seconds then rounded off the afternoon's entertainment, with Stephen Ireland slotting home to put City ahead in the 76th before Benayoun stabbed in a 77th-minute equaliser.
Benayoun was then replaced by Fabio Aurelio.
"We are disappointed because I think we were the better team today," said City manager Mark Hughes. "We showed great character to come back from a goal down.
"That's the frustration for us at the moment, we are allowing those winning situations to go away from us...because really Liverpool weren't causing us too many problems."