Kewell return boosts World Cup hopes - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kewell return boosts World Cup hopes

By Philip Henderson 20/10/2005 07:17:12 PM Comments (0)

He played less than 20 minutes but Socceroo striker Harry Kewell has given his best indication in months he would be fit for Australia's World Cup playoff against Uruguay.

Kewell made his long awaited comeback to top flight football in Liverpool's 1-0 win over Belgian club Anderlecht in the Champions League in Brussels.

He replaced goalscorer Djibril Cisse in the 75th minute, had his best chance at goal blocked in stoppage time, and most importantly, got through the match unscathed.

It was Kewell's first senior game since Liverpool's Champions League triumph over AC Milan in May and came two weeks after he played 25 minutes for Liverpool's reserves, his first outing since off-season groin and hernia surgery.

Manager Rafael Benitez was pleased with the Australian's return, saying: "Harry made a couple of good movements ... he created some chances."

While the first leg of the World Cup playoff is little more than three weeks away, Kewell will likely have plenty of opportunities to test his match fitness before Australia's initial meeting with Uruguay on November 12.

Liverpool plays five games in the next fortnight, starting with Fulham in the Premier League on Saturday.

Given skipper Craig Moore's dogged luck with injury, Kewell's fitness will be a major boost to coach Guus Hiddink and the Socceroos.

Moore cut a miserable figure after aggravating a hamstring injury in his comeback match for the Newcastle reserves against Birmingham City on Tuesday, admitting he was close to tears as he left the pitch.

England-based Socceroo physio Les Gelis will assess the extent of the defender's injury in the next few days, but Moore already seems resigned to missing the November 12 and 16 playoffs.

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