Barclays english premier league Liverpool wait on star duo

Saturday, March 6, 2010 3:16 AM Posted by COME LETS PLAY


Liverpool will play a waiting game with the fitness of a string of top stars, including Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard.

Striker Torres returned to the club's Melwood training ground today 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 today.

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.

It is a match Liverpool must be looking to win if they are to continue their fight for what realistically is a top-four finish, with the title seemingly out of reach.

And defender Daniel Agger, who is easing his way back into action following back surgery, insists they must rediscover their killer instinct soon.

The Dane said: "You get what you deserve in football and you have to look at closing the game down otherwise you get punished in the way we did in Lyon (when a last-minute equaliser left their Champions League hopes hanging by a thread).

"Physically I feel okay. I wanted to play there and I do all I can to play in every match, as all the lads do here, but sometimes it's not going to happen.

"Now we have just got to look forward to the Birmingham game to get going. If we keep playing with the effort we did in Lyon, we hope the situation will turn for us."

Twice in successive Champions League games against Lyon, Liverpool have conceded damaging late goals, with Lisandro Lopez's equaliser on Wednesday coming with only 20 seconds of normal time left on the clock.

Agger continued: "It is always so difficult to accept when you lose two points in the manner we did so late in a game.

"We were all so disappointed. We might have controlled the game but it is no consolation; you have got to keep working hard until the last minute.

"But we have to keep believing. We have got to go into the next two games, make sure that we win them and then take it from there."

Benitez will be without the suspended Jamie Carragher and Philipp Degen for the clash with Birmingham.

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