World Soccer views and news
Let’s be Frank about Lampard
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has returned to training following the death of his mother last week but, even if he wants to, should he play in Wednesday’s Champions League game against Liverpool?
Lampard sat out Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash with Manchester United, which came two days after the death of his 58-year-old mother Pat, and in his absence Chelsea produced their best performance for months.
It was probably no surprise that Michael Ballack, finally given the main man mantle he revels in for big games, stepped up to the plate and capped an impressive all-round performance with both goals in the 2-1 win that kept the title race alive.
Lampard is undoubtedly a hugely influential and popular player for Chelsea, with an uncanny knack of timing his runs and choosing his positions perfectly to ensure a remarkably regular and prolific goal return.
However, as England have found to their cost all too often with his failure to gel with Steven Gerrard, his presence does not always seem to bring out the best in those around him – Ballack being the obvious example at Chelsea.
What a dilemma for Grant. He could leave Lampard on the bench on Wednesday and retain the powerful trio of Ballack, John Obi Mikel and Michael Essien, who performed so impressively against United, but it would be a tough and emotional call to tell Lampard he was surplus to requirements in the most important game of the season so far.
Mitch Phillips, London