FOOTBALL : Liverpool will play a waiting game with the fitness of a string of top stars, including Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard, as they prepare for Monday’s home clash with Birmingham.
Liverpool will play a waiting game with the fitness of a string of top stars, including Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard, as they prepare for Monday’s home clash with Birmingham.
Striker Torres returned to the club’s Melwood training ground on Friday after his whistle-stop trip to Valencia. He had sought a second opinion on his groin injury from specialist Ramon Cugat, who he has worked with before and was also favoured by boss Rafael Benitez when he worked at Valencia.
Spanish sources suggest Torres has been told to rest for three weeks but Liverpool’s top scorer is still being considered for Monday’s match.
If he did rest, Torres would miss Spain’s home friendly next weekend against Argentina in his home-town stadium, Atletico Madrid’s Vicente Calderon.
And, although there is a two-week international break from league action, Torres would still miss the Birmingham match and then games against Manchester City, Debrecen in the Champions League and the Merseyside derby at Everton.
Torres is believed not to want to take that course of action and has been in light training on Friday.
He will have further careful sessions over the weekend before a decision is made about his availability to face Birmingham.
Gerrard, with a lesser groin problem than Torres, has had another pain-killing injection this week and has also done some light training.
He will continue in the same vein this weekend, when Benitez will also consider his fitness levels.
Albert Riera (hamstring), Fabio Aurelio (calf) and Martin Skrtel (virus) are likely to be back in action but the Reds still have serious worries about Glen Johnson (calf) and Martin Kelly (ankle), with neither expected to be fit for the next match.