Football in brief: Benitez hit by Skrtel broken foot but Johnson is near first-team return

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Liverpool: The club's hopes of claiming a Champions League spot have been dealt a further injury blow after defender Martin Skrtel was confirmed to have broken his foot.

The Slovakian was injured during Thursday's 3-1 Europa League victory over Unirea Urziceni, and scans at the club's training ground confirmed he had fractured a metatarsal. "He's had x-rays and they confirmed he has a broken metatarsal," manager Rafael Benitez said. "We have to check over the next couple of days how long it will take to recover." Fellow defender Glen Johnson (knee) is nearing a first-team return.

Redknapp puts on brave face as virus sweeps through Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur: Manager Harry Redknapp remains confident that a virus which has swept through the club this week will not derail their Champions League hopes like four years ago. Several first-team players suffered from the illness this week, with the club closing indoor facilities at the training ground for sterilisation. Right-back Vedran Corluka and midfielder Wilson Palacios were the worst affected but could still make tomorrow's home game against Everton. "We are going to train but everything else is off limits," Redknapp said. "We are just going to go in and train and then get out of there. It hasn't disrupted us, we are still training as normal and hopefully no-one else gets it. There have been so many people gone down with it, it is certainly spreading."

Mowbray calms waters ahead of Old Firm game

Celtic: Manager Tony Mowbray says that his voicing of concerns about Scottish refereeing standards was not through worries of bias. An unknown source claimed the club were frustrated with decisions they believe had gone against them this season, leading SFA president George Peat to question the courage of the source and the timing of the story, ahead of tomorrow's trip to Rangers. "I would never question the integrity of any referee," Mowbray said. "The game is faster and they have a very hard job to keep up with play. But nobody has ever questioned they make them for any reason than they have probably not been up with play or not been at the right angle or position."

Bellamy left out of Welsh squad to face Sweden

Wales: Striker Craig Bellamy may have played his last friendly for his country after being left out of John Toshack's squad for next week's friendly with Sweden. Manager Toshack has averted a potential club versus country row by opting to rest the Manchester City forward. The 30-year-old, who has scored 17 goals in 58 games for Wales, has only recently returned from a knee injury, although his chequered injury history means he struggles to play more than one full game per week. He is likely to remain the attacking spearhead of Wales' Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.

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