In one of the most crucial months in Liverpool's season, the Anfield team must be ruing injuries to a number of key players.

With Daniel Sturridge already out then came another major blow to the Reds' as their enigmatic captain Steven Gerrard was ruled out for a month with a hamstring problem.

Certainly these high level injuries couldn't come at a worse time for Liverpool with trips to White Hart Lane, the Etihad Stadium and Stamford Bridge all in the next 3 weeks however this may give Brendan Rodgers the best indication of where his team stands in the long term.

With Gerrard entering the twilight of his career and Rodgers in the process of rebuilding the Anfield side sooner or later Liverpool have to start looking at who will eventually replace the 33-year-old once he hangs up his boots.

Interestingly this comes as reports claim Liverpool are scouting young 20-year-old star Julian Draxler as the replacement for Gerrard.

Brendan Rodgers was in Germany to watch Draxler play for Schalke in the Champions League midweek against Basel as the midfielder scored in a 2-0 win.

As for the here and now Liverpool will be turning to their current number ten Philippe Coutinho and the goal machine that is Luis Suarez to provide the spark in three of the most important fixtures in their quest for a return to the Champions League.

There's no doubt Suarez is one of the hottest players on the planet right now with six goals in his last two games and with Coutinho also showing better form Reds fans can be hopeful the team can still get results in these big games.

Other fringe players also need to pull their socks up over the festive period, the injuries give great opportunities to the likes of Raheem Sterling and Victor Moses, both have been criticised in recent weeks but they too will have an influential role to play in assisting Suarez and Coutinho in attack.

For Moses it may be he joins Suarez up top continuing the 3-5-2 formation that Liverpool have played for much of the season while for Sterling those runs from the right - such as the one he made to score against Norwich - as well as providing the width that is a crucial aspect to the Reds attack will be his task.

Two of the bigger summer signings also need to step up, Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto haven't featured since their arrival at Anfield. While Alberto has impressed for the under-21 team he is yet to make a major mark for the first team while Aspas has struggled to adjust to the pace of the Premier League.

One aspect to Gerrard's play is he just a bigger factor in defence as he his going forward, particularly this season the skipper has been partnering Lucas in protecting the defenders.

Joe Allen has been drafted in - in recent games and played well in the 4-1 win against West Ham Utd last week, the Welshman is another player yet to make a major impression at Liverpool though he did miss the final few months of last season with a shoulder injury.

Allen was a rock in front of the defence under Rodgers at Swansea and breaking up the play in that role alongside Lucas will be his key objective against the free flowing style of Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea.

Liverpool do have a boost in the build up to Sunday's game at Spurs as Jordan Henderson is passed fit to return. The 23-year-old will provide that workhorse the Reds need in the absence of Gerrard and expect him to be a key player in the midfield over the Christmas period.

Certainly the absence of Gerrard is a blow for Liverpool however with plenty of options open to Brendan Rodgers I don't expect it to be as bigger lose as it would have been several seasons ago.

This Liverpool team is full of confidence and need to go into these busy few weeks believing they can win, perhaps the biggest criticism of Liverpool under Rodgers has been their results against the big teams which have been pretty poor, if that doesn't improve then their Champions League hopes could be dashed. 

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