Torres flies out as Rafa risks throwing injured Liverpool star into Lyons den

03 November 2009 04:39
Fernando Torres has flown to Lyon with his team-mates and is expected to play in Liverpool's crunch Champions League clash on Wednesday night, Sportsmail can confirm.

The Spain striker is struggling with a groin injury that may yet require surgery, but will risk further damage by making himself available for the clash at the Stade Gerland.

Torres showed little sign of pain as he bordered the flight at Liverpool Airport with his team-mates this morning.

Ready for take-off: Fernando Torres has flown with the Liverpool team to France

The Reds talisman is desperately needed in the absence of star midfielder Steven Gerrard, who also has a groin injury with may require surgery.

Operations on either could rule them out for two months, but Anfield boss Rafa Benitez is prepared to risk Torres as he looks to avoid the disaster of going out of the Champions League.

Benitez was blasted at the weekend for taking off Torres after just over an hour at Craven Cottage, where Liverpool went from a 1-1 scoreline to lose 3-1 against Fulham.

The Spanish boss insisted he had to take off the former Atletico Madrid star or risk losing him to injurt for months.

Liverpoolsit third in Group E with just three points from three games and wouldface an incredibly difficult task of qualifying for the knockout stageif they lost against Lyon and Fiorentina won against Debrecen.

Sacrifice: Torres (No 9) gets a pat on the back from Rafa Benitez as he is taken off against Fulham

Benitez had hoped defender Glen Johnson would shake off a calf problem, but the England international did not make the flight. He joins Steven Gerrard, Martin Kelly, Martin Skrtel and Albert Riera in definitely missing the match, while Alberto Aquilani (virus), Daniel Agger (back), Fabio Aurelio (calf) and DavidNgog (ankle) are doubts.

Lyon midfielder Cesar Delgado, who scored the goal at Anfield that helped his side to a 2-1 win a fortnight ago, has branded Liverpool a Jekyll and Hyde team.

'It won't surprise me if we beat them again,' said Delgado. 'People thought Liverpool would be a fixture in the quarter-finals but now we can make sure they are left out.

'The problem for Liverpool is they are so inconsistent, with huge differences in the levels of their performances.

'We have analysed them against Manchester United and Fulham and they are like two different teams.

'Nobody could doubt that we are the best team in the group. We can go a very long way.'

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Source: Daily_Mail