This study investigates the impact of liquidity crises on the relationship between stock (value and size) premiums and default risk in the US market. It first examines whether financial distress can explain value and size premiums, and then, subsequently, aims to determine whether liquidity crises increase the risk of value and size premium investment strategies. The study employs a time-varying approach and a sample of US stock returns for the period between January 1982 and March 2011, a period which includes the current liquidity crisis, so as to examine the relationship between default risk, liquidity crises and value and size premiums. The findings indicate that the default premium has explanatory power for value and size and premiums, which affect firms with different characteristics. We also find that liquidity crises may actually increase the risks related to size and value premium strategies.