Thursday’s Papers: Worry for Torres

There are concerns over the extent of striker Fernando Torres’ latest injury setback ‘“ his third hamstring injury of the season. The Spanish striker now looks set to not play again in 2008, missing six fixtures, with manager Rafa Benitez insisting he will give his star forward all the time he needs to recover properly.

James Ducker writes in this morning’s The Times:

Torres returned to Spain this week to visit Dr Ramón Cugat, a leading surgeon, in an effort to find a solution to a problem that has blighted him on five occasions over the past year. Torres’s training regime is thought to be under review, while such small details of his lifestyle as his choice of footwear and the way he walks are being examined in an attempt to get to the root of the problem.

Charles Carrick of the Daily Telegraph reports on an incident at Melwood yesterday involving Steven Gerrard clattering Lucas Leiva, leaving the Brazilian needing medical treatment.

The two players challenged for a 50-50 ball on a frost-covered pitch at Liverpool’s Melwood training ground, but Lucas fell heavily and clutched his shoulder in agony as manager Rafael Benitez and his medical team ran over to assist him.

Play was briefly halted as the Spanish manager helped Lucas walk to the treatment room.

The Football Association will not bring any disciplinary action against Liverpool Football Club, despite the club openly supporting Michael Shields at Monday night’s goalless draw with West Ham in the Premier League. Andy Hunter of The Guardian writes:

Liverpool, in conjunction with the Spirit of Shankly Supporters Union and the Shields family, staged a protest against the 22-year-old’s conviction before Monday’s goalless draw with West Ham United. The demonstration involved players wearing T-shirts with the slogan Free Michael Now before kick-off, the Kop holding aloft a mosaic with the same message and the actress Sue Johnston, accompanied by Shields’ parents, making a speech on the pitch in which she called on the justice secretary, Jack Straw, to “do the right thing”.

But the F.A. have seen sense and advised Liverpool not to make any further political messages. No further action will be taken by the F.A. or FIFA.

It looks as if we could have seen the last of referee Mark Clattenburg, who hasn’t officiated in the Premier League this season amid allegations about his business matters.

Today’s Daily Mail reports:

The 33-year-old was dramatically suspended in August and dropped from the Community Shield match at Wembley after allegations that he threatened a business associate.

An investigation was launched not only into Clattenburg’s personal life but also into business debts of almost £175,000 he is alleged to have run up. He has strongly denied the allegations, saying he can disprove each one.

And it’s obviously a slow news day at The Mirror offices, who opt to show readers photos of the likes of Steven Gerrard, Christiano Ronaldo and Cesc Fabregas with comedy facial hair. Hmm’¦