Rafa hopeful over Torres

03 November 2009 08:07
// A bit of a hack but it works// The article snippet is wrapped onto a second line, even when #article-sub is emptyif( $("div#article-sub").children().length == 0 ) {$("div#article-sub").remove();} Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is hopeful Fernando Torres will be able to avoid an operation on his troublesome hernia injury.

Torres has been playing through the pain barrier in recent weeks and it has been suggested he will need surgery to solve the problem.

The Spanish international is set to feature in Wednesday's make-or-break Champions League clash with Lyon and Benitez insists he will continue to play it safe with his star striker's fitness.

"We know Fernando has a problem, and we have to manage it," said Benitez.

Improving "The positive thing is that he is improving, and he is in less pain each time he plays and trains.

"Hopefully if we can continue doing well with him, he will not need an operation - that is our idea.

"Now it is a question of how he feels and what will happen if he plays.

"I talk to the players after every training session and every game. After United, he needed four days to be ready again. After Fulham, he told me he was much better but still feeling something.

"Yesterday he was better still and hopefully tomorrow he will be even better."

Benitez is also hoping Steven Gerrard can avoid going under the knife as he struggles with a groin problem.

Gerrard has not made the trip to France and the club have yet to decide whether or not to send their talisman for an operation.

"Gerrard has been working with our physios and fitness coach," added Benitez. "He was improving, but it is too early. We have to wait two or three days to see his reaction, but he is doing well."

Benitez is also missing Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Martin Kelly, Fabio Aurelio and Albert Riera for the game and the Spaniard admits the injury problems have been hard to cope with, especially to their two star performers Gerrard and Torres.

"At one stage 14 players were injured or had a virus, no club could cope with that.

Injury crisis"It is not easy with this injury crisis. If any of the top sides in England lost four or five of their very best players and then four or five from their bench, they would struggle.

"People do not realise how important Torres and Gerrard are until you lose them, this situation is not easy for anyone. But we will do our best and we do have the experience of such situations.

"Two years ago we also needed to win our final three group matches, and we succeeded. We can do that again.

"The players here are strong enough for this challenge. The mentality of the group is good, and they are determined to win."

Benitez will make a late decision on whether to give Alberto Aquilani his first start for the club after the Italian shook off a virus.

"We will see how he trains and afterwards we will decide," noted Benitez. "We analyse every single player after every training session and then we have a meeting. But now is too early."

Source: SKY_Sports