Team News ahead of Chelsea clash
Liverpool have been boosted by the news that Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso looks set to make his first start since picking up a metatarsal injury against Arsenal in October tomorrow night.
The Reds face Chelsea in the Carling Cup quarter-final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening and will welcome the news of Alonso’s return after the news that captain Steven Gerrard will miss the tie with a stomach bug.
On Alonso’s return, manager Rafael Benitez said, “Xabi is training normally and should be available for the game at Chelsea.
“We are going into a busy period with lots of games so it is important to have out best players available. Xabi’s return is a big boost.”
However defender Daniel Agger and winger Jermaine Pennant remain sidelined with long-term injuries.
Meanwhile Chelsea have team news of their own with German captain Michael Ballack returning. The midfielder has been out of action since April. And Portuguese international Ricardo Carvalho could also make a return after five weeks on the sidelines with a back injury. He should come in for the injured John Terry.
Transfer ban denied
Chief executive Rick Parry has denied reports that the club’s American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have put restrictions on Rafa Benitez’s spending in the January transfer window.
Reports and quotes from Gillett yesterday suggested that Benitez must offload players to raise the funds for the players he wants to sign. However Parry denies this is the case, although the Â£17million deal for Javier Mascherano is expected to be put off until the summer.
Parry told the BBC, “I can say that this is absolute rubbish.”
Rafa up for UEFA award
Meanwhile Benitez has been shortlisted for the prestigious UEFA Coach of the Year award along with new Tottenham boss Juande Ramos, Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson, England’s Fabio Capello and AC Milan’s Carlo Ancelotti.
Riise to Spain?
And reports around today suggest that Valenica manager Ronald Koeman will launch a bid to bring left-back John Arne Riise to La Liga during the transfer window.