West Ham boss Sam Allardyce is fearful he could be without midfielder Mohamed Diame for up to 12 weeks after he suffered a hamstring injury in the 3-2 defeat to Liverpool.
- Related Content
Diame has been a key player for West Ham this season but was forced off after 73 minutes, with Liverpool scoring twice in the closing stages to take the three points.
The Senegal international was stretchered from the pitch after pulling up near the touchline and Allardyce did not give a positive early prognosis.
"Not good, it does not take a medical expert to know it is a serious hamstring tear when he falls and stopped the way he did," he said.
"I would expect, in medical terms, for it to be a grade 3 (injury) and that could be anything up to eight, 10 or 12 weeks."
With the likes of Alou Diarra, Ricardo Vaz Te, Jack Collison, Yossi Benayoun and Andy Carroll already out injured Diame's absence is a big loss to Allardyce.
"For us he is about the start and build-up of most of the creative side of our game - he runs at them (defenders) with pace and ability that puts them on the back foot," he said.
"That is what we have lost and what we will be missing for a number of weeks so we are going to have to be a bit more dogged and resilient with the players we have got available, rather than have the more creative side we have had from Mo."
Diame's performances for the Hammers have seen him linked with a number of clubs, especially given that he has a release clause in his contract, but Allardyce reckons he would rather deal with bids for his player in the transfer window than have him sidelined.
"I would sooner have that aggravation in January where people trying to get him than lose him for the period of time, eight-12 weeks," he said.
"In my experience, I have had a number of hamstring injuries myself in my time, when you go down like that you know you have really got (a bad) one.
"We will wait until it has settled down and then scan it, we will find out exactly how big the damage is and move on from there."
A win for West Ham against Liverpool would have taken them up to sixth in the table and after last week's 3-1 win over Chelsea many had the east Londoners as favourites.
Glen Johnson had given the visitors the lead after 11 minutes before Mark Noble converted from the spot following a handball by Joe Allen after 36 minutes.
The Hammers went into the interval ahead thanks to a headed own goal from Steven Gerrard before the second half turnaround.
First West Ham old boy Cole levelled in the 76th minute, before number nine for the day in Luis Suarez's absence, Shelvey pressured James Collins into putting the ball into his own net three minutes later.
Allardyce was pragmatic about the defeat believing his side were just unlucky to come out as losers.
"We were never in control of the game completely especially against a side like Liverpool, we were not going to dominate for the whole game," he said.
"We gave everything we could. We can't continue to play and dominate teams we play, when we did today we got ourselves in the lead.
"We just got promoted, we are in a good run of form and there are expectations from fans.
He added: "The loss of Diame didn't help. We lost forward momentum but we defended well and overall the goals conceded were a bit unfortunate.
"There was a wonder goal from Johnson and Cole took his well. Unfortunately for us 'Ginger' (James Collins) scored an own goal."