Saturday, May 19, 2007

Reina Is Back To Fitness But Zenden Is Doubtful

Liverpool will have their semi-final goalkeeping hero Jose Reina fit for next week’s Champions League final, manager Rafa Benitez has said.

The Spanish stopper saved two Chelsea shoot-out penalties to help the Reds into Wednesday’s clash with AC Milan but has been struggling with a shoulder problem since.

But according to fellow Spaniard Benitez, the Liverpool number one has been passed fit to face the Italians.

And in further good news for Liverpool fans, second-choice goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek - who was the penalty-saving hero himself when the Merseysiders beat Milan at the same stage two years ago – is also fit.

In what could well be the Pole’s last appearance for the Reds before leaving the club, Dudek is likely to sit on the bench.

"They are both OK and they will be OK," Benitez told Liverpool’s website.

"I’m sure that at the end of the week both Pepe and Jerzy will be fit."

But Dutch midfielder Bolo Zenden has emerged as a doubt for the clash after suffering an ankle injury in training. His misfortune may yet mean that Australian winger Harry Kewell gets a surprise starting place against the Italians.

"It will be difficult to say [Zenden] will be fit for the final now, but I won’t say no yet," Benitez added.

"He is strong and determined and [his ankle] may recover quickly. I still hope he will be okay."

Benitez also added that midfielder Mohamed Sissoko may be fit, although he still needs to prove his fitness before Wednesday, while Fabio Aurelio and Luis Garcia are both long-term injury victims.