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Page last updated at 07:07 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 08:07 UK

Liverpool sweat on injured trio

Robbie Keane (left) with Rafael Benitez
Keane was replaced by Dirk Kuyt just after half-time

Liverpool hope Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane and Xabi Alonso will face Chelsea on Sunday despite sustaining injuries against Atletico Madrid.

The trio failed to finish Wednesday's 1-1 Champions League draw in Spain.

Keane is causing Reds manager Rafael Benitez the most concern: "We need to check with Keane. I don't think it will be serious.

"It was a little bit of a muscle problem for Robbie. Gerrard is okay and Alonso has a knock on his knee."

Benitez admitted he was disappointed with a draw because his team "had chances to finish off the game".

Liverpool took the lead at the Vicente Calderon stadium in the 14th minute when Keane calmly finished a trademark Gerrard through ball beyond Atletico keeper Leo Franco.

And the Merseysiders dominated the first half, but did not make the most of their supremacy, with Keane missing a straightforward chance to put Liverpool further ahead.

In the end, the visitors were grateful for a point after being forced onto the back foot for most of the second period with Simao Sabrosa equalising in the 83rd minute.

We are trying to keep players with fresh legs and 100% fit, so we were trying to protect all of them

Rafael Benitez

"We made a mistake in the 83rd minute and we paid for it," admitted Benitez, whose side are now joint top of Group D with Atletico with both on seven points.

"If you said to me before the game that we would have seven points it might have been good, but after leading until the 83rd minute and the chances that we had, in my opinion we have lost another two points.

"We didn't have one or two of situations, we had plenty of them on the edge of the box and we didn't finish them off.

"I think we have played a very good match, we have controlled the match and when you play well the other team looks worse.

"I think the entrance of Kun (Sergio Aguero) gave more depth to their play and we defended worse, and they also took advantage of the favourable wind in order to play long passes against us."

The injuries to Keane, Gerrard and Alonso may have contributed to Liverpool's poor second-half performance.

And with striker Fernando Torres already struggling with a hamstring problem, the possibility that the trio could miss the visit to Stamford Bridge leaves Benitez with a headache.


Keane was the first to be taken off when he was replaced by Dirk Kuyt just after half-time, and then Gerrard was the next to make way in the 61st minute before Alonso left the action with 15 minutes to go.

Benitez added: "We are trying to keep players with fresh legs and 100% fit, so we were trying to protect all of them."

The Spaniard admitted the result may have been different had Torres played but did not want to dwell on the matter.

"Obviously he's a special player and it could have been a different match," he said.

"But he was unavailable so it doesn't matter. He couldn't play."

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see also
Atletico Madrid 1-1 Liverpool
22 Oct 08 |  Europe
Champions League as it happened
22 Oct 08 |  Europe
Champions League photos
22 Oct 08 |  Football

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