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Still time for Kewell to shine

Australia winger Harry Kewell could yet have a say in Liverpool FC's season despite having missed the entire campaign to date with a succession of injuries.

Harry Kewell could yet have a say in Liverpool FC's season despite having missed the entire campaign to date with a succession of injuries.

Final misery
The 28-year-old Australia winger has not played for his club since a groin injury forced him off during the FA Cup final triumph on 13 May last year. He recovered to feature in three games for the Socceroos at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, scoring on his last competitive outing, the 2-2 draw with Croatia that sent Australia into the last 16. Having been sidelined ever since, Kewell was finally back in action on Monday night in a reserve-team meeting with Everton FC, coming off the bench after 55 minutes. Within five minutes he had made a goal in a 3-1 derby victory.

Past problems
Unlike another long-term casualty, Luis García, Kewell has remained on Liverpool's UEFA Champions League squad list with manager Rafael Benítez not giving up hope of his return. Kewell himself could be forgiven for being extra keen to play in the Athens final on 23 May after two bittersweet experiences in the past. He was part of the dynamic Leeds United AFC side that roared into the 2000/01 semi-finals before coming unstuck against Valencia CF. Then, in the 2004/05 showpiece against AC Milan, he was carried off with an achilles complaint before Liverpool went on to draw 3-3 and win 3-2 on penalties.

Premiership chance
Kewell's most notable problem of the last year has been his battle with septic arthritis, a bacterial infection in the joints of his left foot, but the signs are that he is fully rehabilitated following his ailments. With Liverpool secure in their place in next season's UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, Kewell is likely to be risked in at least one of the remaining Premiership matches, away to Fulham FC this Saturday and at home against Charlton Athletic FC eight days later. Should he come through unscathed, the forward could still get his chance to make it third time lucky in the UEFA Champions League.