Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has somewhat eased Liverpool's injury woes with the news that he will be out for around a month – two weeks less than he was expected to be.
The England captain has been out since picking up a hamstring injury in the 4-1 victory over West Ham at Anfield on Saturday, and underwent scans earlier this week.
The initial prognosis was that the 33-year-old could be out for six weeks, but Gerrard should now be back shortly into the new year.
It still means he will miss the busy Christmas schedule during which Liverpool will play away at Tottenham on Sunday before a home game against Cardiff City.
The final two games of the year are on the road against Manchester City and Chelsea.
Manager Brendan Rodgers is already having to mastermind how the Reds will cope without Daniel Sturridge who is out for up to two months.
Meanwhile, striker Luis Suarez has extended his lead as the Barclays Premier League's top scorer after being awarded a second goal in last weekend's win over West Ham.
he Uruguay star's strike from distance took a deflection off Joey O'Brien and went down as an own goal by the defender.
However, the Premier League's dubious goals panel has now decided Suarez – who had already scored once in the game – should be credited.
It takes the 26-year-old's tally in the league to 15 – three better than Manchester City's Sergio Aguero – and those goals have helped fire Liverpool into second, five points behind Arsenal.
But Suarez has scored his in just 10 matches as he missed the first five games as a result of his ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic being carried over into this season. Aguero's 12 have come in 14 league matches.