In a shock last minute selection surprise, Liverpool has included
chronically injured Aussie star Harry Kewell in its squad for the first
leg of its Champions League semi-final clash away to Chelsea.

While the Stamford bridge blockbuster guarantees at least an English
team plays off in the final of Europe’s elite club competition,
ordinarily you would not expect Liverpool to gamble with Kewell,
despite him declaring himself fit to play. Whether his naming is a ruse
or as seems more likely he will offer an option from the bench after
his season has been destroyed by injury, it also shows just how bare
the cupboard is for manager Rafael Benitez as he weighs up his goal
scoring options.

“He said he was fit if I wanted him. Having him back is a boost for the whole squad,” said Benitez.

The 27-year-old Kewell has only played in two games since mid-December
and has battled a plethora of what he claims are inter-related
injuries, including back, hamstring and a chronic groin complaint that
has until now proven resistent to all forms of treatment. After he
refused to make himself available for selection and travel for
Liverpool’s vital Champions League second leg clash against Bayer
Leverkusen in March, Benitez attacked Kewell’s attitude and claimed to
be mystified as to what his actual injury problem was.

Many soccer fans will be hoping Liverpool can halt the all-conquering
Chelsea to prove that not even the bottomless cheque book of notorious
Blues owner Roman Abramovich, can buy Champions League success.

Local fans can see the game live via ESPN at 4.30am through Foxtel.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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