Injury stricken Fernando Torres has voiced his support for Rafa Benitez and insisted Liverpool must stick by their under-fire manager.
Since Torres was sidelined three weeks ago with a groin problem, the Reds have crashed out of the Champions League and slumped to seventh in the Premier League table, a whopping 13 points behind leaders Chelsea.
While his frustrated star man watches on, Benitez has come in for heavy critiscism because of a peceived lack of depth in the Liverpool squad. Torres, though, is adamant his countryman should remain at the helm.
'Benitez has shown that he is the right man to take Liverpool forward,' Torres said. 'When the club has needed to be strong it always has been. Now is the time for everybody to stick together from the manager right down to lowliest member of staff because above all else we want to make our wonderful fans happy with our performances and results.
'We must be united to finish as high as possible in the Premier League. I am convinced that we will end up in the top four.'
The elimination at the group stage of the Champions League has been the hardest pill to swallow at Anfield.
'Nobody expected it [to be knocked out] because this team has shown itself over recent seasons to be very reliable.
Mersey boy: Torres has three goals in five Merseyside derbies
'This is a competition that we won in 2005 and on another occasion  we got to the final. Since I have been with the club we have got to a semi-final and a quarter-final.
'We also have high hopes for the FA Cup and the Europa League. At this time, this tournament has become a goal for the club.'
Torres, who bagged a match-winning brace in last season's Merseyside derby, is likely to miss out on the chance of repeating the feat when the Liverpool travel the short journey to Goodison Park on Sunday.
However, midfielder Alberto Aquilani could be handed given his first taste of a Merseyside derby. The Italian has made just three substitute appearances totalling just 22 minutes since his £20million summer move from Roma.
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