Trio boost for Reds
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Jerzy Dudek, Dietmar Hamann and Harry Kewell should be fit for Bayer Leverkusen.Rafa Benitez is expecting injured trio Jerzy Dudek, Dietmar Hamann and Harry Kewell to be fit for the trip to Bayer Leverkusen in the UEFA Champions League.
Liverpool take a 3-1 advantage to Germany on Wednesday night after the first leg at Anfield, but things have not gone well since.
A Carling Cup defeat took its toll on morale and personnel, with Benitez having to make five changes for what was a lacklustre defeat at Newcastle.
Fernando Morientes is cup-tied anyway, while Djimi Traore is definitely out with a thigh strain, but Benitez is hoping to have three players back from injury.
Dudek had a gashed shin, while Hamann and Kewell had minor knocks but the Spanish boss expects them back for Wednesday's big game.
"I expect Jerzy, Didi and Harry to be fit for Wednesday," Benitez told the club website.
"They had problems which should keep them out for two to three days, no more than that. I hope they'll be fit.
"We knew they needed rest to recover, but the problem that gave us was they were all missing for the Newcastle game."
Benitez defended his selection at St James' Park, and was keen to look forward to Wednesday's match.
Despite sitting on a healthy two-goal lead, it will look a slender advantage should Bayer grab an early goal but Benitez is staying confident.
"We had a lot of injuries so we decided to change the formation so we were stronger in defence, and I think we controlled their attack well.
"In the Champions League game against Leverkusen, if we defend well then we will go through. But we will still be going forward and trying to score, because an away goal would be important.
"My players are in the right frame of mind for the game."
With Everton still eight points ahead in The Premiership, winning the tournament could be the only way for Liverpool to be involved next year - and they have a great opportunity to make the quarter finals on Wednesday.