Rafa hit by injury blows
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Mohamed Sissoko and Stephen Warnock will be out for up to three weeks for Liverpool.
Rafa Benitez's injury worries show no sign of subsiding with the Liverpool boss confirming that both Mohamed Sissoko and Stephen Warnock picked up knocks in the UEFA Champions League qualifier against Maccabi Haifa.
The Reds ensured their spot in the group stages in Kiev on Tuesday night but the victory came at a cost with the two players joining a lengthening list of the injured at Anfield.
Warnock, removed after just 28 minutes, is expected to be absent for two weeks with an ankle injury whilst influential midfielder Sissoko could be out for up to three weeks due to the knee problem he sustained in the second half.
With John Arne Riise and Jamie Carragher picking up injuries in the opening game of the Premiership season against Sheffield United, and new signing Gabriel Paletta also on the sidelines, Benitez has an under strength squad for the visit of West Ham on Saturday and the Spanish chief is trying to get his head around another fitness setback so early in the season.
"We are in the group stages and I believe we deserve to be so after creating so many chances," said Benitez.
"But it was very disappointing to lose another two players through injury.
"Stephen's is hopefully not too serious but Momo could be out for two or three weeks. We will have to see."
A draw in Kiev was enough for Liverpool to reach the lucrative group stages of the UEFA Champions League, but Benitez has pledged that his side will improve after a tricky start to the season that also saw them draw with Neil Warnock's Blades at the weekend.
"We are not at 100 percent yet, I know that," Benitez added.
"It has been a difficult preparation for this season with so many of the players returning at different times from the World Cup.
"When we have got over this game with West Ham and then the two-week international break you will see a side improving and progressing together and ready to take on the really big teams in the Champions League.
"You will see a much better team then."