In-form West Ham forward Michail Antonio has been ruled out of Saturday’s trip to Liverpool, but David Moyes is hopeful he will not be missing for too long.
Antonio, who has scored three goals this season and 11 since the restart, limped off with a hamstring injury against Manchester City last weekend.
The news is a major blow to Moyes, whose side have taken eight points from four tough matches against Leicester, Wolves, Tottenham and City.
The Hammers boss would have certainly relished the opportunity to unleash his powerhouse frontman on Liverpool’s injury-hit back four.
Moyes said: “He’s been good for us, he has played really well and is an important member of the team.
“When he played against Spurs he felt something, then against City and he felt it. We don’t think it is too bad but it will keep him out of this game, that is for sure.
“But we have really been showing a great team ethic. We have been scoring goals from all different areas, we have been playing well as a team.
“Of course, we will miss him. Since we came back from lockdown I think Michail has been as important as any striker in the league.”
Liverpool will once again be without key defender Virgil Van Dijk while Fabinho, who has been deputising for the Dutchman, is also set to miss out.
“Does Van Dijk’s absence give us confidence? They might look at it the same as us being without Michail,” added Moyes.
“Obviously you’d rather play Liverpool without Virgil Van Dijk. But probably the biggest thing going up to play Liverpool is without supporters.
“Their support makes such a difference, with no crowd behind them hopefully that might make a difference as well.”
West Ham’s recent form has led to calls for Moyes to get a new contract, with his present deal up at the end of the season.
But the Scot insisted: “I am really enjoying West Ham. It is a great club, I have a good relationship with the owners, I think we are trying to put things in place not just for now but for the future as well.
“But look, there isn’t any pressure on anybody. When the time is right. Let’s wait and see, we have only won two and drawn two so let’s see what happens over the next few months.”