Thursday, April 9, 2009

Gerrard setback for Liverpool

Rafael Benitez looks set to risk Liverpool’s Premier League title hopes on a less than 100 per cent fit Steven Gerrard before leaving him out of the Champions League quarter-final second-leg with Chelsea.

The Anfield captain has been diagnosed with a tear to an adductor muscle in his groin, though Benitez may gamble on playing him against Blackburn Rovers tomorrow.

Gerrard is then likely to be rested when Liverpool head to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night, signalling that at 3-1 down from the first-leg Benitez is now focused on winning a first league title since 1990.

Benitez said that Gerrard was "clearly not as mobile as normal" during Liverpool's 3-1 first-leg defeat by Chelsea on Wednesday evening and the tear apparently sustained during the game provides some explanation.

Fernando Torres was also "less than 100%" on Wednesday, according to Benitez, but Liverpool have a seven-day break after the Chelsea game to get players fit before a crunch league meeting with Arsenal.

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