Henchoz injury blow for Liverpool

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The Independent Football

Liverpool's Swiss defender Stéphane Henchoz is set to undergo a calf operation that will keep him out of the game for up to five weeks.

Henchoz came off during the first half of Liverpool's 1-0 win over Chelsea on Sunday and he will miss Switzerland's European Championship qualifiers against Albania on Saturday and the Republic of Ireland the following week.

Liverpool's assistant manager, Phil Thompson, said that Henchoz, whose partnership with Sami Hyypia has been a key part of Liverpool's success in recent seasons, would be missed but added that, in Djimi Traoré, Liverpool had an able replacement.

Rio Ferdinand, who underwent keyhole surgery on his right knee to remove small pieces on cartilage on Sunday and misses England's European Championship qualifiers in Slovakia on Saturday and against Macedonia in Southampton on 16 October, may be fit in time to play for Manchester United against Manchester City at Maine Road on 9 November.

The Sunderland goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen will be out of action until the new year after dislocating his elbow in Sunday's defeat at Arsenal.

Dundee United want to recruit Ian McCall after making Alex Smith the Scottish Premier League's first managerial casualty of the season yesterday and putting Paul Hegarty in temporary charge of the club. The Tannadice Park side have made an official approach for McCall, who is at present the manager of Falkirk, though his club have rebuffed it. McCall has taken Falkirk to the top of the First Division after performing a similar feat against the odds at Airdrie before they went out of business.

The Uefa Cup seedings were announced yesterday before today's second-round draw. The teams have been split into four pots of 12, with six teams seeded in each group. Each seeded team will be drawn to face a non-seed.

Blackburn Rovers may be handed a lucrative game against Celtic. Rovers are in the same pot as six potentially intriguing seeded opponents: Celta Vigo, Porto, Paris St-Germain, Sparta Prague, Werder Bremen and Celtic.

Group One includes the tournament's top seeds, Lazio, who are joined by Panathinaikos, VfB Stuttgart, Boavista, Malaga and former winners of the competition, albeit in 1981: Ipswich Town.

All will be hoping to avoid the accomplished Turkish side, Fenerbahce, and the former European champions Red Star Belgrade, who defeated Chievo, of Italy, 2-0 on aggregate in the first round.

Both are unseeded in the group along with Slovan Liberec, of the Czech Republic, the Polish side Amica Wronki, and Anorthosis Famagusta, of Cyprus, and the Hungarian side, Ferencvaros.

Parma head Group Two as top seeds with the 2000 finalists Alaves, Hertha Berlin, Anderlecht, Dynamo Zagreb and Slavia Prague also hoping for a favourable draw.

Jean Tigana's Fulham side are the unseeded team to avoid after an impressive start to their Premier League campaign and their Intertoto Cup success in the summer. Partizan Belgrade are another side who few would wish to be drawn against after their disposal of Sporting Lisbon in the first round and their return to form in the Yugoslav league.

Besiktas, of Turkey, and Wisla Krakow, of Poland, will not be appealing prospects. The group's lesser lights are the Danes of FC Midtjylland and Apoel Nicosia of Cyprus.

Leeds United head Group Three alongside Bordeaux and their prolific Portuguese striker Pauleta, Real Betis, Schalke 04, PAOK Salonika and Sturm Graz of Austria.

The Swiss league leaders Grasshopper Zurich await one of the six with the Czech side Viktoria Zizkov full of confidence after defeating Rangers on away goals.

Hapoel Tel Aviv, of Israel, and Legia Warsaw, of Poland, will provide stern tests while the Bulgarians of Levski Sofia and the Swedish title-chasers Djurgarden will also be no pushovers.