Friday, November 6, 2009

Torres and Gerrard both require Surgery fears Rafa

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez still fears that both Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres will need to go under the knife to finally cure their groin problems.

Skipper Gerrard has played just 25 minutes in the last month while Torres is being nursed through games as Liverpool attempt to rescue their season.

Benitez has been hopeful that he would be able to get through to the international break without having to send two players who are central to the club's hopes of success to a surgeon, but Torres continues to be playing through the pain barrier.

Torres played almost all of Liverpool's 1-1 draw in Lyon on Wednesday night, a result which left their Champions League hopes hanging by a thread.

Benitez said: ''Fernando played with pain, and after the game he still had the same problems that have troubled him for a few weeks.

''He wants to wait, rather than have an operation. He wants to work with the physios to try to solve his problems, but still he has pain.

''He told me he needed to keep stopping during the game because of the pain. Whether there is the need for him or Steven to have an operation is a decision we will probably not take straight away.

''We must see how they can improve, and by how much. Then we will decide about any possible operation.''

Benitez was criticial of his side for continuing to attack towards the end of the game at the Stade de Gerland rather than take the ball into the corner. Liverpool led until Lisandro levelled the scores 10 seconds from the end of regulation time.

''We have to improve when we are leading near the end of the game. We must start showing more experience in such situations,'' the Spanish boss said. ''But nobody let the club down, that was the positive outcome from the draw in Lyon.

''We had so many problems with injured players. But you cannot complain about the performance because the team did everything they could to secure the victory.

''The performance was good and the fans who were in the stadium with us could see that. They were singing at the end and after the whistle because they knew they had seen everyone give everything.''

Goalkeeper Jose Reina has called on his team-mates to show ''heart, passion and belief''.

''If anyone can do this, Liverpool can,'' he insisted. ''But now it (qualification) is not in our own hands, it does not only depend on what we do. We were unlucky, but we must keep fighting until we have more options with players getting fit again.

''I felt we had done enough to have won, and deserved it too. Maybe not beforehand in the previous matches when we did not play well. But this was different, this was a much better performance. When we play like we did in Lyon, we know we are good enough.

''Now it is very, very difficult for us. But we must show strong character and fight right to the end. We know we have enough good players to sort this out. The players will take heart from this, at least we know we are getting back to the form we know we should be producing every week.

''I do not accept that not going through will be a disaster for the club. We have been in the Champions League now for several years, one failure is not a disaster.

''Not many teams have reached the semi-final twice and two finals - including a title victory - in the last few seasons. It can happen again, we get closer to our real form with every game.

''Any team would miss the quality of the players who are injured at the moment, but we have others who can play and who can produce the right performances to get us out of this mess.''

Jamie Carragher is also not giving up hope.

He said: ''We still believe we will get through. We know it is going to be difficult but we are not out of it yet. All we can do is win our next two games and see what happens.

''We have been in difficult positions before and come through like in 2005 when we had to win in Marseille to qualify. A draw in Lyon does not mean we're totally out of it.''

Carragher was also quick to defend the under-fire Benitez, adding: ''If you look at the manager's record in Europe; we've won it and been to the final, semi-final and quarter-finals. So our Champions League record under the manager has been superb.''

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