Saturday, November 7, 2009

Rafa updates on Torres and Gerrard Injury

Rafael Benitez today revealed that he will give Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard late fitness tests before deciding whether the duo can face Birmingham City on Monday.

The Reds boss has had to cope with a growing injury list in recent weeks but is hopeful he will be able to recall some key personnel when his side face Alex McLeish's men.

"We are improving. We have some players doing light training again. At least they are training and hopefully today they will be a bit better," he told his pre-match press conference.

"We will see if they can be available. There is a big difference between players being fit and whether they can be available.

"It is something we have to analyse. For example, yesterday Gerrard was training with the physios on his day off. He is improving. We don't know if he will be fit. We don't know if he will be available. We will have to analyse the situation. He was injured before and has now been 15 days without training with the team.

"Can he play or can he be on the bench? At this moment we do not know."

Asked about the fitness of Torres, the boss said: "He has gone to Spain to see a specialist. We have also been in contact with our medical staff. We know that he is a little bit better than he was before.

"He still has some problems and will be working with the physios. We don't know if he can face Birmingham. He can train, but we will have to manage the situation. After all this we will make a decision."

The injuries to both Gerrard and Torres have raised questions as to whether they will need surgery to cure their respective problems, but Benitez believes they must analyse each case carefully before making a decision.

"They have had experience of these types of problems for years, so it is a question of trying to keep going and to see how they react," he said.

"Each player is different. Some players will work with the physio and be fit throughout the whole season. Others may need to stop and then carry on again.

"Torres is playing with pain, but he is someone who has a positive and good mentality. He wants to play for the team and I think we can carry on.

"I was really surprised with the criticism after some games. You can see he's not 100 per cent. So when can we decide if he can carry on or not? Again, it depends on the reaction of player.

"At this moment he is playing and trying to do his best. Sometimes you can see he is not fully fit, but he is improving. He was much better after the game against Fulham than he was against United. It was the same after Lyon, so he is improving.

"Stevie is totally different. He is clearly not fit and will need time. Fernando is not fully fit. There is a big difference."

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