Lampard to return for Anfield showdown

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The Independent Football

Frank Lampard is set to make a return to the Chelsea team for their Champions League semi-final first leg against Liverpool tomorrow after he trained for the first time yesterday since his mother was taken seriously ill. Lampard missed both Chelsea's Premier League games last week following his mother Pat being admitted to hospital with pneumonia.

The return of Lampard, who left Stamford Bridge on Monday night just before the Wigan match to be with his family, would be a boost to Avram Grant ahead of tomorrow's game at Anfield. Didier Drogba and Michael Ballack, who have both been injured, participated in training yesterday although they did not take part in a full session. Drogba missed the matches against Wigan and Everton last week with a persistent knee injury and is by no means certain to start tomorrow.

Lampard's mother is still in hospital and he has been told by the club to return only when he feels ready. He is under no pressure from Grant or Chelsea to play and will make a decision today as to whether he wants to travel to Liverpool.

With injury problems of his own, Rafael Benitez said that he will test Steven Gerrard's neck by tapping the Liverpool captain on the shoulder. "If he turns to face me without any pain, we will know he can play," said the Liverpool manager.

Gerrard, revealed Benitez, injured his neck heading the ball in training. "We were doing some patterns of play and he had scored maybe four or five headed goals. Then he felt his neck. I didn't know immediately it was that serious but though he wanted to play at Fulham he was only able to look to the right. I told him he could play as a left winger.

"With the neck, you never know. The neck is always dangerous so you need to wait."

Sami Hyypia, who was substituted at half-time with dizziness, should be fit if required, as should Javier Mascherano who limped off after being kicked twice by Danny Murphy and caught once by his own team-mate, Lucas. Benitez is likely to be asked today whether he feels Grant has deliberately tried to unsettle Gerrard by stating again that Chelsea would like to sign the player. Grant said: "For me, he is the player of the year in England... If you can bring him to me, I will be happy."

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