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By ESPN Staff

Malouda to miss Spartak clash

Florent Malouda will miss Chelsea's Champions League clash with Spartak Moscow on Wednesday after picking up an ankle injury in his side's 2-1 Premier League victory over Blackurn.

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But Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti is confident that the influential French winger's injury is not severe and insists Malouda should be fit to face Liverpool on Sunday.

Frank Lampard should also return for the visit to Anfield but he will sit also sit out the Spartak match as he completes his recovery from a long-standing groin injury.

"Malouda has an ankle problem,'' confirmed Ancelotti. "He twisted it in the last game and had a scan yesterday. He will have another one today but we don't think it's a big problem.

"It was a little twist. I hope he will be ready for the game at Liverpool. Lampard and Benayoun will be out, and Bosingwa has not felt well and did not train, so he's not available.

"We have a lot of games coming up and I don't want to take a risk. We have important games against Liverpool and Fulham and we want to play them with the players in good condition.''

But Ancelotti is compensated by the return of Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba. He was suspended for the opening two games in the Champions League and missed the win over Spartak in Moscow through a virus.

"He's involved and wants to play,'' Ancelotti said. "He wants to give his support for the team. He's been out for these games and the team played well and won, but we have more possibilities to win when Drogba is in the team.

"When you have an opportunity to close the game you have to do it. We have a chance to get to the top of the table and play the last group games without pressure. Spartak played very well in the last game, above all in the second half.

"We want to avoid those kind of difficulties tomorrow. We had a problem in the second half and played too defensively. We want to play a different game.''

Victory over Valery Karpin's side would give Chelsea the double over Spartak - following their 1-0 win in Moscow two weeks ago - and increase their lead at the top of the group to six points.

A win would also see them qualify for the knockout stage and with games against Marseille (away) and MSK Zilina (home) to come, they would be firm favourites to finish top.

But the absent Malouda warned his team-mates that Spartak will come to London gunning for a result.

"I was really impressed by the quality of Spartak,'' Malouda said. "They will come to get a result because it's so important for them, for second place.''


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