Liverpool duo Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres have been ruled out of Thursday night’s Europa League play-off second leg against Trabzonspor
Gerrard has been hit by a recurring back problem, while striker Torres is not going to be risked in a third successive game after an injury-plagued year for the Spanish World Cup winner.
Losing both his captain and star forward is undoubtedly going to make the task for Roy Hodgson's Reds even tougher when they travel to Turkey with a 1-0 advantage from the first leg at Anfield.
Hodgson said: “Everyone who has been to Trabzonzpor tells me it is a remarkably difficult place to go to.
“It’s hostile and fanatic crowd, plus it’s a difficult pitch. “If we come through it, we’ll come through stronger.”
Liverpool will be able to welcome back Joe Cole from suspension, however, and the former Chelsea midfielder is in line to start for the Reds.
But the Anfield boss faces further worries in the form of Daniel Agger and Maxi Rodriquez. Agger is suffering with concussion and Maxi from gastroenteritis.
"We missed a golden opportunity to kill the game off at Anfield and now we have to do it all again,” said the 62-year-old coach.
Both Gerrard and Torres are likely to be fit Sunday’s game against West Bromwich Albion.
By Tom Eastwood