Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez is poised to make a surprise selection gamble by selecting Harry Kewell and Djibril Cisse in tonight’s Champions League final against Milan.
According to reports the injury-plagued duo are in line to replace Dietmar Hamann and Milan Baros in the Reds starting eleven.
Given that Kewell and Cissé have between them started only three matches since February, the pair’s names on the teamsheet would constitute a major surprise.
Benítez’s is looking to unsettle the ageing Milan defence and he regards the pacey duo as the key to that strategy.
Benítez has set a precedent of unexpectedly including Kewell in his starting line-up. He was a starter in February’s Carling Cup final against Chelsea, despite playing only 77 minutes of Liverpool’s previous fixture against Bayer Leverkusen after a two-monthinjury.
Kewell subsequently irritated the Liverpool manager, by refusing to be considered for selection for the return leg against Bayer Leverkusen, citing groin and achilles injuries. He has been used sparingly since.
Cissé appeared as a second-half substitute in the semi-final against Chelsea at Anfield but his start against Aston Villa in Liverpool’s last Premiership match was his first since breaking his leg last October. The immediate diagnosis after the break was that he would not play again this season, but the Frenchman has made remarkable progress to regain full fitness.
It had been expected that Cissé would come on for Milan Baros at some stage tonight, but now it is looks like it will be the other way round.