No one likes to gamble and lose, but professional coaches often have to weigh the risk-reward with their star players. Unfortunately for Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, it was he who gambled and lost in a big way on Sunday, losing two of his regular starters to recurring injuries. Never mind that it was a thrilling game, never mind that Liverpool battled hard to earn the result -- a 1-1 draw at home to first-place Arsenal.
On an otherwise positive day for the Reds, Fernando Torres limped off at halftime due to a recurrence of the adductor strain he suffered playing for Spain two weeks ago. Then, later in the second half, Xabi Alonso limped off the field after reinjuring his metatarsal. Torres will be out three weeks, while Alonso could be missing for as many six. To make matters worse, Argentine Javier Mascherano suffered an injury late in the game and is now awaiting the results of a scan.
Before the match, Benitez had said that rushing Torres and Alonso back was crucial to Liverpool regaining its early season form. However, neither player, understandably due to the circumstances, had any impact on the match. Liverpool is still undefeated but sits sixth in the EPL, six points behind Arsenal and Manchester United.