Friday, February 06, 2009

Steven Gerard: I hope i can make it for the derby with Madrid

Liverpool's deadline day sale of Robbie Keane has contributed to them heading into the Champions League knock-out stage with a squad two players short of the full complement, and Steven Gerrard's hamstring tear threatens to leave them further depleted for the visit to Real Madrid later this month.

In fact, UEFA allows a squad of 25 and though Sami Hyypia's name appears on the list Liverpool had to submit by 1 February – contrary to manager Rafael Benitez's suggestions last week that the defender was excluded – Jermaine Pennant, now on loan at Portsmouth, and Philippe Degen have been removed and Keane, nominally still on the list at the time Liverpool submitted it, is gone, leaving a squad of just 23.

Liverpool are not the only side below full potential. Chelsea have a squad of 21, Uefa revealed, with a further five on their B-list thought to be youngsters yet to break into Chelsea's senior ranks. B-list players must be under 22 and the four names on Liverpool's are the goalkeepers Dean Bouzanis and Martin Hansen, the midfielder Ryan Flynn, on loan at Wrexham, and the forward Nathan Ecclestone.

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