With Liverpool already 6-1 up in a first-round tie, the England centre-half should not be missed and both the Anfield players and their manager, Graeme Souness, who received the dreaded vote of confidence from the board yesterday, should enjoy a more relaxing evening than some they have endured this season.
The Cyprus police will likewise be hoping for a quiet night and that the presence of Juventus on the island on the same night to play Anorthosis, in Larnaca, in the Uefa Cup, also with a 6-1 advantage, does not lead to problems. Local tensions were raised at the weekend when supporters of Apollon and Omonia, the fierce rivals who they beat in last season's cup final, were involved in skirmishing after Apollon were awarded a last-minute penalty. Seven policemen were injured and the referee, who was set on, spent two days in hospital.
Cardiff City's chances of reaching the second round are markedly slimmer than Liverpool's. They travelled to Austria to face Admira Wacker in their return leg level at 1-1. Their coach, Eddie May, at least held out hope, pushing the veteran Robbie James into midfield in an adventurous line-up.
Hibernian's hopes of carrying the Scottish flag forward in the Uefa Cup do not look much brighter. A 2-2 draw at home against one of Europe's canniest competitors, Anderlecht, means a difficult night in Brussels for the Edinburgh club. Their neighbours, Heart of Midlothian, will need their leading scorer, John Robertson, to be fully free from his hamstring strain to help them deal with their 1-0 deficit against Slavia Prague at Tynecastle tomorrow.
With Celtic out of form and 2-0 down against Cologne in the Uefa Cup and Airdrieonians needing to overhaul a 1-0 deficit against Sparta Prague in Czechoslovakia, Rangers are the only Scottish side taking a lead into the second leg.
Diego Maradona, playing his first game for 18 months after a suspension for cocaine use and a contractual dispute, helped Seville to a 3-1 win over Bayern Munich last night. Maradona joined the Spanish First Division club from Napoli last week.Reuse content