Liverpool gamble on Gerrard for Chelsea visit | sports | Hindustan Times
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Liverpool gamble on Gerrard for Chelsea visit

sports Updated: Aug 18, 2007 21:25 IST

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez may be claiming that Chelsea's visit to Anfield is just another three points on offer but the fact that he is willing to risk Steven Gerrard's toe injury demonstrates the scale of this fixture, just a week into the new campaign.

The inspirational Reds skipper may need injections in the problem, a hairline fracture on the big toe of his right foot suffered in a challenge from Achille Emana in the 1-0 Champions League qualifier first leg in Toulouse in midweek.

The 27-year-old has been withdrawn from England's friendly against Germany next week and may even be absent from Liverpool's trip to Sunderland next weekend but his inclusion for tomorrow's match is a major statement of intent from the Reds' boss.

With Liverpool having knocked Chelsea out at the semi-final stage of the Champions League in the last two seasons only adding to the antipathy between the sides, the Reds know that a victory would be a major early blow to their title rivals, having invested 50 million pounds in the hope of launching a sustained challenge to end their 17-year wait for the league title.

Benitez knows Gerrard will be vital.

"If we push him a little bit now because it is a very important game, maybe he will need to rest after the game. It's not serious but it's also something we need to be careful about," said the manager.