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Oct 23, 2008

Rafa faces anxious wait over injured trio

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is sweating over the fitness of three key players as he prepares for the Premier League showdown with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

With Liverpool level on points with Luiz Felipe Scolari's men and only in second place on goal difference, Benitez knows that he can send out a statement of intent to the rest of the Premier League with a strong performance in the capital.

But he could be without skipper Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso and Robbie Keane who all suffered knocks during the 1-1 Champions League draw at Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night.

Liverpool are already likely to be without the services of star striker Fernando Torres as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury.

Benitez knows he will need all his big game players for the trip to a side which has not lost at home in the Premier League for 86 matches, a run which stretches back to a loss against Arsenal on February 21, 2004.

"The three players have had some problems,'' Benitez revealed. "It was a little bit of a muscle problem for Robbie. Gerrard is okay. He was really tired and Alonso has a knock on his knee.

"We need to check with Keane. I don't think it will be serious, but anyway we need to take care of him. He will see the doctor. We are trying to keep players with fresh legs and 100% fit, so we were trying to protect all of them.''

When asked if he had any fitness concerns for the clash with Chelsea, Benitez answered: "I don't know now, we will have to wait.''

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