Friday, December 4, 2009

Benitez fears injury may ruin world cup dreams for Torres

Fernando Torres' groin injury will cast a shadow over the Liverpool striker's season and may affect his chances of being fully fit for the World Cup next summer, according to manager Rafael Benitez.

The Spain international striker has missed Liverpool's last four games with a hernia problem sustained in October and will not travel to Ewood Park for this afternoon's Premier League fixture with Blackburn Rovers, although Benitez expects him to be available for the dead rubber Champions League tie with Fiorentina at Anfield on Wednesday evening.

Benitez is confident the player, who has featured in just three of Liverpool's last 10 games, has rested sufficiently to overcome the injury.

However, he admits both club and country will need to keep "a close eye" on him for the rest of the campaign if he is to avoid the need for a complete rest from football next summer, when he will form an integral part of Spain's attempt to win the World Cup for the first time.

"He is very close, but you do not want to take any risks," Benitez said.

"Sometimes he is feeling the problem a little bit but he has more confidence now, so he is much better.

"He can carry on, but we will need to keep a close eye on him during the season. He will be a special case. He will be one of a few players we have doing specific work to avoid injuries.

"When you have this kind of problem, especially a groin problem, it is difficult because every specialist has a different opinion.

"They are probably all the same in the end, because it is just a matter of time, but we had a meeting with four this week and everyone had their own view.

"Fernando was adamant right from the start that he did not want an operation, and he is improving now and training again.

"The main thing for the moment is to see if he can progress during the season. Maybe, because he has not played so many games, he will be fresh for us.

"After that, we will have to analyse his condition. We will discuss it with Spain."

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