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Glen Johnson close to Liverpool return
Published : 22 Feb 2010 11:33:27
The England right-back has been missing since tearing the medial ligament in his right knee during Liverpool's 1-0 victory at Villa Park on Dec 29. No date was put on his return but with striker Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun making their comebacks from five weeks out injured in Sunday's goalless draw at Manchester City, Benitez is now hopeful Johnson will soon join them. "Yossi Benayoun is coming back, Fernando Torres is coming back, hopefully Glen Johnson will come back in the next week," he said. Benitez welcomed the return of Torres and Benayoun after more than a month on the sidelines. Both made substitute appearances in the goalless draw at City which did little to improve either side's Champions League aspirations - although at least neither sustained irreparable damage. The sight of Torres on the pitch a month after he had a knee operation in Spain will undoubtedly provide a boost for Liverpool as they enter a crucial three-month period which could have serious ramifications on the club. He was not expected to be back for another week or so and even Benitez was surprised to have him available for selection at Eastlands. "He trained on Friday and he was really good. Early in the morning we thought 'no chance' but watching him in the session we thought 'OK, maybe he can'," said the Liverpool manager. "But we also we had a problem as David Ngog (ankle) was injured and we couldn't play him so we had to bring Torres with us and because he was so bright in training we thought maybe he was worth 15 to 20 minutes." Tottenham's win over Wigan yesterday means they have reclaimed fourth place but it is only on goal difference from Manchester City, with Liverpool and Aston Villa just a point behind. In truth Liverpool did not do enough against City to warrant a victory but at least they remain in the hunt for a top-four spot. Having struggled to break down Unirea Urziceni in their Europa League tie at Anfield last Thursday the Reds found it equally difficult to get past City. The only genuine save of the game came early in the second half when Jose Reina tipped Emmanuel Adebayor's shot on the turn around a post. Aside from that there was very little in the way of chances, with numerous corners from either side the only time there was any goalmouth action. "It was a difficult game. We didn't have clear chances, they didn't have clear chances, but we had more possession and but for the pass in the final third it could have been different," said Benitez. "I don't think the result is good for anyone. We both wanted to win and I have to think about the positives. "We were strong, we did well and we have two players coming back - that is all you can say after the game."