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Football: Alex will miss Liverpool quarter-final clash.

Byline: BY IAN DOYLE

LIVERPOOL'S Champions League hopes received a boost last night when it emerged PSV Eindhoven defender Alex will miss their quarter-final showdown.

The Brazilian centre-back was carried off on a stretcher just before half-time during PSV's goalless draw at Excelsior at the weekend and Eindhoven have confirmed the defender will be out for at least six weeks after he underwent an MRI scan.

He will miss the tie against Liverpool, the first leg of which takes places in Eindhoven on April 3 with the return at Anfield on April 11.

After Alex sustained the injury on Sunday while attempting a pass, PSV coach Ronald Koeman said: "As he went to make the pass he felt something tear. We have to wait and see but we assume there is a tear.

"If that is the case, he will be lucky if he plays another match this season."

Koeman is already facing up to the likely absence of Ivory Coast striker Arouna Kone, who sustained knee ligament damage at Arsenal last Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have extended their American links by the formation of an association with the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL) in New York.

The LIJSL one of the largest community-based youth soccer organisations in the United States and the first to sign an official affiliation with a top international team.

Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher recorded a special message for LIJSL president, Addie Mattei-Iaia, the chairman of the United States Youth Soccer Association (USYSA), Larry Monaco, and the hundreds of LIJSL volunteers attending the league's 25th Annual Convention.

The association will enable more than 70,000 children and thousands of volunteer coaches of LIJSL to have direct access to Liverpool's expertise, including the Academy.

"On behalf of the Liverpool Football Club I would like to express how excited we are for the opportunity to develop a relationship with the LIJSL," said Gerrard.

"Both of our organisations have long traditions and a history to be proud of and I am confident that all LIJSL players, whether they be playing for fun or in an elite development program, will prosper in

some way."

The alliance is being backed by adidas, who are a sponsor of both Liverpool and the LIJSL.

"This strategic alliance will allow Liverpool FC to extend their brand in the US through one of the most influential youth leagues in America, while allowing the LIJSL to learn from one of the most successful clubs in the world," said Aaron Barrett of adidas America.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 13, 2007
Words:423
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