Sami Hyypia in knee injury scare

By Tony Barrett on Mar 31, 09 12:55 PM in Journalists

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RAFA BENITEZ was today sweating on the fitness of Sami Hyypia after the long serving Reds defender returned early from international duty with a knee injury.

Hyypia picked the knock up during Finland's 2-0 win over Wales in a World Cup qualifier in Cardiff at the weekend and was today due to undergo a scan at Melwood as Liverpool's medical staff attempt to discover the extent of the damage.

The initial suspicion is that the 35-year-old has suffered a knee ligament injury and if that is confirmed Hyypia would almost certainly be ruled out of Liverpool's forthcoming matches against Fulham in the Premier League and Chelsea in the Champions League.

With Yossi Benayoun having picked up a calf problem during Israel's qualifying clash with Greece, the current international break is already looking likely to turn out to be a costly one for Benitez.

A further worry for the Reds boss is that Javier Mascherano will not return to Merseyside from international duty with Argentina until 24 hours before Liverpool take on Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The midfield general is set to captain Diego Maradona's side as Argentina take on Bolivia in La Paz and afterwards will face a 14-hour flight back to the UK.

With several other senior members of his squad also involved in international matches tomorrow night, Benitez will not get the majority of his players back until Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, talks are continuing between Liverpool and the representatives of several Reds players as Benitez looks to tie up their futures.

Negotiations are already under way with the agents of Fabio Aurelio, Alvaro Arbeloa, Dirk Kuyt, Steven Gerrard and Daniel Agger and the process will soon move onto Stephen Darby and Jay Spearing who are set to be rewarded for the progress they have made during the last 12 months.

Discussions have already begun with Spearing and Darby but the order of priority means that contracts for Benitez's senior squad members will be arranged first.

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