Javier Mascherano and Lucas Leiva's race to play for Liverpool FC
10 September 2009 07:00
LIVERPOOL duo Javier Mascherano and Lucas Leiva face a race against time to be ready for Saturday's showdown with Burnley at Anfield.
The midfielders have been on international duty in South America and are not expected back on Merseyside until tomorrow after gruelling transatlantic flights.
Mascherano is making the 6,000 mile journey home from Argentina's World Cup qualifier in Paraguay, while Lucas has been with the Brazil squad in Salvador for their home clash with Chile.
Boss Rafa Benitez will assess their fitness when they finally return to Melwood tomorrow afternoon.
Benitez won't want to be without either of his newly established central midfield pairing against the Clarets but he won't take any chances as the Reds face a hectic schedule of six games in the space of 17 games.
The Reds manager will be particularly concerned about Mascherano's condition as the 25-year-old suffered a calf injury shortly after returning from international duty last season.
Although he picked up that problem playing for Liverpool, Benitez believed the fatigue of travelling thousands of miles to play for his country was a contributory factor.
If either are ruled out then Benitez may decide to drop skipper Steven Gerrard back into midfield.