Rafael Benitez says that his worst fears over Dirk Kuyt may not have been realised after all. Kuyt injured ankle ligaments on duty with Holland on Saturday, but rather than send him straight home the Dutch staff kept him back until the last possible moment in case they could get him to play their Wednesday night fixture. A scan proved they couldn't and so he was finally sent to Melwood for some treatment.
Now after a couple of days with the club medics he's recovering much more quickly than had been feared – and could even be fit for tomorrow's game with Blackburn. Rafa says he'll leave the decision on whether to include him tomorrow until the player's had more time to recover: "Dirk's injury isn't that bad. We can't say when he will be able to play, but he returned on Tuesday and had more treatment. It would have been better if we'd been able to treat him for another two days straight after his injury, but we will wait and see how he is before deciding when he can play."
The club also confirmed officially that Daniel Agger had broken bones in his right hand, but held back from saying how long he might be out for, if at all. Clearly with an outfield player suffering a hand injury the time taken to return to action could be shortened if a suitable dressing can be found, but it's believed this injury will need to be in either plaster or the equivalent for at least a month. Even with a dressing on that's acceptable to the officials the player still has to be able to play without too much pain.
Agger's fellow centre halves Jamie Carragher had mixed fortunes last night on their international duties. Sami Hyypia scored for Finland in their win over Kazakhstan but Carra, along with Peter Crouch, saw his England team-mates mess up enough to lose 2-0. Crouch set up England's best chance but Wayne Rooney blasted the flick over the bar. The two goals conceded were the fault of John Terry for the first one and the Gary Neville own goal for the second was one you'll be seeing on football comedy-clip shows for years to come, much to the despair of Paul Robinson.
Rafa also spoke about an injury to Momo Sissoko that had been kept quiet until now. Rafa says it has been causing him problems since he arrived back from duty with Mali: "We also have a problem with Momo, who has hurt his ankle. He's not been able to train since he came back."
One player who should be fit tomorrow is Welsh captain Craig Bellamy who delighted his national coach John Toshack last night with his performance in their 3-1 home win over Cyprus last night. After being thoroughly embarrassed by Slovakia on Saturday a lot of pride was at stake, not to mention qualifying hopes, and Craig led his team-mates to the much-need win. Tosh said: "Craig produced an outstanding performance. Everything he did was outstanding and it proves it was the right decision to make him captain. Craig has been excellent. He has grown into the job since he has been with us, he has understood the extra responsibilities and it showed on the pitch. You could see the positions he was taking up, dropping into different areas so he could link up better with people."
Bellamy got the third Welsh goal and says he enjoyed the partnership he had last night with Robert Earnshaw, who also scored: "He is an exceptional player with very good movement. We can move defenders around. We've probably only played together four or five times over a two-year period."
Spain played a friendly and Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina will have been delighted with the ninety-minute chance he got to represent his country. They beat Argentina 2-1 with appearances also for Xabi Alonso, a half-time sub for David Albelda and Luis Garcia who replaced Fernando Torres ten minutes later.