It is a position almost impossible to imagine when Roman Abramovich succeeded in his long seduction of Fernando Torres on the last day of January 2011. Chelsea had their £50 million centre forward to play alongside, replace, or swap positions with Didier Drogba. Liverpool put £35m of their Spanish bounty into the purchase of Andy Carroll, England's most sought-after native-born talent.
When the two clubs come together at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon they will do so with their attacking line-ups weakened by the two gargantuan deals.
Instead of working with strength in depth when it comes to choosing a finisher, Roberto Di Matteo and Brendan Rodgers will effectively be choosing from single-striker squads.
At Chelsea every one knows who has to start the big games as centre forward. It is Torres, the owner's grand project, the most expensive striker the Premier League has possessed, yet one who has managed a paltry 11 goals from his 56 appearances in that competition for the club.
Carroll, meanwhile, is on loan at West Ham. Intent on cashing in on a striker who Rodgers felt would not fit into his possession-focused tactics, Liverpool succeeded in diminishing his value to a point where the move to Upton Park became their last option.
Moreover, they allowed it go through without securing a proper replacement.
With Fabio Borini still two months away from a return to Rodgers' attack, Liverpool now depend solely on Luis Suarez. It is a bizarre state of affairs for a club of their stature, but at least they have one forward who regularly delivers.
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