According to Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, England striker Daniel Sturridge could miss the final month of the season with a torn hip muscle.
The England international has made seven Premier League starts this season, having suffered four separate injury setbacks.
Rodgers has acknowledged that the 25-year-old’s latest problem, a hip injury sustained against Manchester United on March 22, could keep him out of Liverpool’s final five league matches.
“It’s been difficult. Daniel is a good lad who wants to play and work and help the team but it’s been one of those seasons for him” said the Liverpool boss.
“He’s been very unfortunate. We’ll have to monitor him day by day and see where he’s at.
“When he’s been fit, he’s been brilliant — but it’s just a case of getting him back on a consistent basis. Whether that’s this season, or in preseason, has to be seen.”
Sturridge scored 21 of Liverpool’s 101 Premier League goals last season as they finished runners-up to Manchester City.
But with the former Chelsea striker frequently injured and Luis Suarez, last season’s 31-goal top scorer, moving to Barcelona last July, the Reds have been far less prolific this term, scoring 47 goals in 33 league matches.
With Mario Balotelli playing up front on Saturday, Liverpool were frustrated in a 0-0 draw at West Brom that left Rodgers’ side fifth, seven points outside the Champions League qualification spots.
Asked about signing a striker this summer, Rodgers said:
“It’s certainly an area that we need to address come the summer.
“We have a top-class striker here in Daniel but he also needs help. At the same point last year, we had 90 goals. You’re nearly talking about a 100 percent difference.
“We’ve been strong defensively — despite what people write and say. We had a 14th clean sheet of the season at West Brom on Saturday, and we’re in the top five sides defensively in the league.
“But obviously the critical area, as it was when I first came, is goal scoring — and that is something we need to improve upon.”