Blow for Liverpool as injury rules out Owen

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The Independent Online

Michael Owen has been ruled out of Liverpool's crucial Champions' League encounter with Barcelona tomorrow. The England forward strained a hamstring in last week's 3-0 win over Newcastle at Anfield.

Owen's likely absence means a probable start for Jari Litmanen alongside Emile Heskey, with the on-loan striker Nicolas Anelka ineligible.

Better news for Liverpool is the return of their midfielder Steven Gerrard after four games out with a groin injury. The 22-year-old has not played since pulling up during the goalless draw with Galatasaray at Anfield three weeks ago.

Liverpool travel to Spain bottom of Group B and must avoid defeat to keep alive their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals. Defeat would end their interest in the competition with only a tricky home encounter against the group leaders, Roma, to come in a week's time.

The Merseysiders may, however, be buoyed by the news that Rivaldo is unlikely to play. The Brazilian limped out of Sunday's training session with a problem in his right knee. It is Liverpool's second visit inside a year to Barcelona, after they fought out a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Uefa Cup semi-final last season.

Bayern Munich's Carsten Jancker will miss tomorrow's Group A match at Manchester United. The striker hurt his right ankle in training on Sunday. The European champions will also be missing Mehmet Scholl, who is nursing a torn thigh muscle, and his fellow midfielder Hasan Salihamidzic, ruled out with damaged knee ligaments.

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