Djibril Cisse came back from a broken leg against Juventus on Wednesday night and is now desperate to make up for the time he’s lost. Cisse had been out since October when he suffered the horrific injury against Blackburn.
The Frenchman’s now already talking about helping his national team to qualify for the World Cup finals. He knows he’s not first choice for France, but had a message for French coach Raymond Domenech. Said Cisse:
"Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet are immovable and I have to be patient but don’t forget that I’m only 24 and they are four years older than me. They won the World Cup and the European championship. The main thing for me is to lie in ambush, to be a regular member of the squad. Raymond Domenech must know that he can rely on me."
The French national team are top of Group Four, on goal difference from Israel. Breathing down their necks are Ireland and Switzerland, both one point behind with a game in hand. Cisse wants to add to his 19 caps – he missed Euro 2004 because he was a serving a five-match international suspension, and of course has been injured since October.
Cisse was signed from Auxerre by previous manager Gerard Houllier, but didn’t actually join the Reds until after Houllier had left the club. The striker felt he was doing OK for Liverpool until he suffered the injury: "My arrival at Liverpool was not perfect but I’m satisfied with my move – before I was injured I scored in my first Premier League match and in my first Champions League match. It was a promising start, particularly as it’s always difficult to adapt to new surroundings when you move abroad."
Djibril surprised everyone with his early return – to play at all this season was consider unachievable – and is now excitedly looking forward to the Champions League Semi-finals. Full of confidence, Cisse said, "There is no reason we cannot win the competition now. I think other teams will be taking notice of Liverpool after our result against Juventus. I am really pleased for all my team-mates because they have taken us so far in the competition and they have done a great job. It is going to be hard against Chelsea, but having lost to them three times, now we really want to beat them. I am really looking forward to both games. People will make Chelsea favourites, but that’s better for us."
Rafael Benitez says that Cisse was determined to get back and lift the team: "He has worked hard to come back. At times it was difficult and frustrating for him and for us. He trained very well yesterday. He scored a lot of goals and has a lot of confidence. He is always happy and for team spirit this is good."