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English Premiership

Aquiliani to miss Benfica clash

LONDON, March 31 – Liverpool suffered a blow ahead of Thursday's Europa League quarter-final first-leg clash with Benfica when midfielder Alberto Aquilani was ruled out with an ankle injury.The Italy international sustained the injury in training on Wednesday morning and will not fly out with the squad to Lisbon.

"He will not be available for this game," said manager Rafael Benitez.

"He had a problem with his ankle and we have to fix it.

"It doesn’t seem too serious but it’s the same ankle as before and so we’ll have to analyse the situation carefully."

Aquilani arrived in the summer after a 17-million-pound move from Roma with an ankle injury which had ruled him out of the latter stages of the 2008-09 Serie A season.

It took a while for him to regain match fitness and, as a result, he has made just eight starts and 11 substitute appearances this season.

Benitez also confirmed defender Martin Kelly will undergo a knee operation which will rule him out of action for the rest of the season.

The 19-year-old defender tore the meniscus in training on Saturday.

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