Liverpool have been boosted by the news that Fernando Torres has returned to training after injury much earlier than first expected.
The Spanish striker (pictured) was expected to be sidelined for three weeks with a muscle injury made worse during the Reds’ 1-1 draw with Arsenal last Sunday. But the Â£22million man resumed light training with the squad today.
However Torres is not expected to be included in the squad for tomorrow night’s Champions League clash with Besiktas at Anfield.
Rafael Benitez has defended under-fire Dutch duo Ryan Babel and Dirk Kuyt after the pair received criticism for recent performances, including the goalless draw at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday evening.
Benitez told the Liverpool Echo, “We must not forget that Ryan is 20 years old, he has come from another country and another style of football.”
On Kuyt, he added, “When you miss chances and you have two or three, it means you are there. If you are not there, you cannot miss the chance.
“I will not criticise Kuyt because he plays a lot of games and over 90 minutes his work rate is fantastic. He is creating chances. When you have a player who can create three or four chances for himself, normally sometimes he will score so I think I must be pleased and positive with Kuyt.”
And Skipper Steven Gerrard says the team have their heads up and are focussed to fight back from their bad start to the Champions League campaign. One draw and two defeats sees the Reds on the brink of early elimination from the competition unless they can turn things around, starting with victory tomorrow night at Anfield over Besiktas.
Looking ahead to the game Gerrard said, “Giving up or feeling sorry for ourselves is not something we have even thought about,” .
“After the defeat by Besiktas we could not really believe that we had not taken anything from the game. We dominated possession, territory and chances but they hit us with a sucker punch on the break.
“What we have now is an absolute mountain to climb. But there is a real belief in the group that we can make it happen.”
And finally, Liverpool‘s Carling Cup Quarter-Final away at Chelsea has been confirmed for Wednesday, December 19th. The match will be shown live from Stamford Bridge on Sky Sports, with a 7.45pm kick-off. Ticket details are yet to be announced.