There was some mixed news overnight for Australia’s upcoming World Cup
final qualifying games against Uruguay in November. In Brussels this
morning Harry Kewell provided some good news when he came off the bench
for the final 16 minutes of Liverpool’s Champions League first leg 1-0
victory over Anderlecht.

But it was a case of one step forward and possibly two steps back, with
news that the injured former Socceroos captain and hopefully our
defensive lynchpin against Uruguay, Craig Moore, has re-injured his
troublesome hamstring while making his own comeback playing for
Newcastle reserves. With this latest setback, he’s looking increasingly
unlikely to be available, or in any sort of condition to help us get to
Germany and the World Cup finals in 2006, although he’ll still be a
pivotal player should we qualify.

As for Kewell, his manager Rafael Benitez said the chronically injured
Australian was better served playing 16 minutes in the Champions League
than a full match in the reserves, having got through his first senior
appearance for the club since he limped out of the Champions League
final last season.

Perhaps his manager indicated just how serious he is in wanting to
retain the troubled Kewell at Anfield when he substituted his goal
scorer Djibril Cisse in the 74th minute to get Kewell on the pitch,
although some things don’t change. The Independent
reported today that Kewell came on “to a lukewarm reception from the
otherwise vociferous travelling support, for the last 16
minutes.” Liverpool is almost assured now of advancing to the
second phase of the championship.

Chelsea also continued on its merry way towards the knockout phase when
it smashed Real Betis 4-0, with Didier Drogba continuing his
outstanding form with the opening goal after 23 minutes. But in
breaking news in today’s UK papers, Manchester United’s 20-year-old
Portuguese star, Cristiano Ronaldo is now out on bail after being
arrested and questioned on suspicion of rape. Ronaldo was
released pending further inquiries into allegations by a woman claiming
she was raped in the penthouse suite of the Sanderson Hotel in central
London on October 2, a day after Manchester United played Fulham.

According to BBC crime correspondent Neil Bennett:
“normal procedure was for the police to interview the alleged victim
and alleged perpetrator and send a file to the Crown Prosecution
Service to decide whether anyone should be charged.”