Rafa To Lose Babel To Olympics As Well?

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has admitted his concern that Ryan Babel might become the latest of member of his squad who could be unavailable for the start of the season because of the Beijing Olympics.

Benitez will already have to reckon without Lucas, Javier Mascherano and most likely also Emiliano Insua, and now stands to lose a player that has just come back to training after suffering an injury just ahead of the official start of Euro 2008.

“Obviously, we are really pleased that Ryan is coming back to training," Benitez told, "because he is an important player for us and he has worked hard to recover from the injury he suffered with Holland.

"But we are really worried because after getting him fit it is likely that we could lose him again if he is selected for the Olympics. This is a big problem – we prepare him and then he goes away with the national team.

"This season is very important for him. In his first season he was settling in but this time he has more experience and we are looking for him to give something from the beginning, so it is really important for him to start working with his team."

Should Babel be called up to represent his country at the Beijing summer games, that would mean missing the first four weeks of the Premiership season, and the start of Liverpool’s Champions League campaign.

Fifa rules state that each country can take three over-age players and should Babel decide to accept the call-up, there will be nothing Rafa Benitez can do to stop him.

The Olympic Games start on August 8 and run to August 24, but Babel would need to join up with the Dutch squad two weeks in advance for a training camp.

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