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Monday, 27 January, 2003, 07:47 GMT
Kirkland faces anxious wait
Adebola checks on Kirkland after the pari collided
Kirkland was unable to continue after the colliision
Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland will undergo a scan on a knee injury amid fears he may miss the rest of the season.

Kirkland was stretchered off after 22 minutes in the goalless FA Cup fourth round tie at Crystal Palace after an accidental collision with Dele Adebola.

And Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier admits he fears Kirkland, who was on the verge of an England call-up, could have cruciate knee ligament damage.

He said: "He was in a lot of pain and it could be ruptured ligaments. It was the one dark note of the game."

But Houllier cleared Adebola of all blame as he said: "Adebola didn't do it viciously. Sometimes managers say they do not see things but I saw that and it was not deliberate.

"Chris got a kick on his knee or the knee twisted. He was doing so well and he went down very bravely, but it was just one of those things."

They were hanging on and we'll now go to their place nice and relaxed - we played with the passion our supporters expect and it was a great occasion

Crystal Palace manager Trevor Francis

Kirkland was discharged from hospital after it was revealed he had not broken any bones, but he could still face a lengthy absence.

Kirkland's knee is heavily swollen and he returned to Anfield on crutches after leaving hospital, Liverpool's official website reported.

Houllier was happier with the result, saying: "It was a typical English cup tie and I always knew they would bridge the gap for the occasion.

"We had to have a professional focus. If we had got sloppy you could have had an upset but it was a good performance.

"We earned the replay. They made it extremely difficult and we had to withstand a lot of pressure at the end. It was a time to show our mental strength."

Palace manager Trevor Francis also saluted Liverpool and insisted they were "back to their meanest" after their third consecutive clean sheet.

Francis was delighted with his own team's performance, singling out defender Hayden Mullins as his man-of-the-match for neutralising the pace of Michael Owen.

"Mullins is so good he could play at the back in his suit," said Francis.


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27 Jan 03 | FA Cup
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