Liverpool could ignore advice to rest Fernando Torres for Birmingham visit
The Spanish international returned to Merseyside on Friday after a whistle-stop visit to see Ramon Cugat, a groin specialist known to both Torres and his manager, Rafael Benítez, in Valencia. Dr Cugat is believed to have recommended a three-week course of treatment to avoid the need for surgery which would rule Torres out until the end of the month. Related ArticlesFernando Torres in contention for Birmingham clashArsene Wenger backs Rafa BenitezGiants facing eliminationFernando Torres has tests at Liverpool hospitalXabi Alonso defends Rafael BenitezSport on televisionReports in Spain on Friday suggested Torres would begin the recovery process immediately, missing the visit of Alex McLeish's side to Anfield, as well as the visit of Manchester City on Nov 21, the Merseyside derby with Everton a week later and the potentially crucial Champions League tie at Debrecen. Torres is not expected to join up with Vicente del Bosque's Spain squad for their friendlies with Argentina a game to be held at the Vicente Calderón, home of Torres's alma mater Atletico Madrid, in which he was in line to captain his country and Austria. But it is believed Liverpool have not yet made a firm decision on when Torres will begin his treatment and Benítez is weighing up whether to risk him against Birmingham as Liverpool bid to put their season back on track after a run of just one win in eight games. He has been substituted in each of the matches he has played since returning from an adductor strain picked up on international duty with Spain in October, lasting just 80 minutes against Manchester United, 63 against Fulham and 87 in the 1-1 draw with Lyon on Wednesday. He had previously missed the home fixture with Lyon and the 1-0 defeat at Sunderland. Similarly, Benítez remains hopeful that Steven Gerrard will be fit for the match with Birmingham after the Liverpool captain, who has not played since hobbling off just 25 minutes into the fixture with Lyon two weeks ago, showed signs of progress in his own attempts to recover from a groin strain. Gerrard was given an injection earlier this week and has been training to a specific recovery programme with Liverpool's physios while his team-mates were away on Champions League duty. No decision has yet been made on whether he will need surgery to cure the problem in his adductor muscle first sustained during England's 1-0 defeat in Ukraine in October and exacerbated in training with Fabio Capello's squad two days later but sources at Anfield confirm the club remain optimistic he will be able to avoid surgery. Alberto Aquilani, Martin Skrtel and Glen Johnson are all expected to return to the Liverpool side as the club's injury crisis begins to abate.
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