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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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By ESPN Staff

Chelsea confirm Lampard thigh tear

Both Jose Mourinho and Steve McClaren are sweating on the fitness of Frank Lampard after Chelsea confirmed the midfielder sustained a tear in his thigh.

The 29-year-old pulled up at the end of training today as Chelsea continued their preparations for Sunday's Premier League trip to Aston Villa.

It is not yet known how long Lampard will be out but he is a huge doubt for England's Euro 2008 double header with Israel and Russia.

'It is too early to say how long the injury will keep him from playing,' read a statement from Chelsea.

The injury is on the same leg as the toe he broke earlier in the season.

For England boss Steve McClaren the news is arguably of more importance than for Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

While Mourinho can call on any number of replacements from his multi-talented squad, McClaren's options are somewhat limited.

At a time when David Beckham, Kieron Dyer and Wayne Rooney are all missing from international duty the loss of Lampard, whose experience at the highest level is invaluable in the situation England presently find themselves in, would be a grievous blow.

In fact, the only positive McClaren might be able to draw is that he will be spared the repeated dilemma of who to leave out of a central midfield consisting of Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Owen Hargreaves.

If Lampard is ruled out it would make it even more imperative that Gerrard plays despite being ruled out of Liverpool's Premier League encounter with Derby tomorrow with a broken toe.