Henchoz to miss final weeks
By Mark Buckingham. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
LIVERPOOL manager Gerard Houllier has opted against rushing defender Stephane Henchoz back into action before the end of the season.
With The Reds chasing a Champions League berth, Houllier had been keen to restore the centre half pairing of Henchoz and Sami Hyypia ahead of a thrilling climax to the campaign.
Henchoz has not played for the Anfield outfit since undergoing a calf operation after Liverpool's Worthington Cup final triumph over Manchester United.
Houllier had been hoping the Swiss stopper would be fit to feature in Thursday evening's reserve team tussle against Sunderland.
But after the 28-year-old failed to regain fitness in time for the match against The Black Cats, Houllier concedes it would be pointless pressing Henchoz into Premiership action before the next campaign.
"Stephane has not made it in time to play for the reserves," said Houllier. "Unfortunately, I don't think he will be available again before the end of the season.
"There's no point rushing him back. We have three important games left to play and he won't be ready. Djimi Traore has played very well in his position and will continue."
Traore is now expected to retain his place alongside skipper Hyypia at the heart of the rearguard as Liverpool face West Brom, Manchester City and a potential decisive trip to Chelsea on the final day of the season.