Torres worry as Special One comes into frame

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Newspaper Review: Friday 27 February

What a week it’s been. Full of rumours, speculation and uncertainty regarding Rafa Benitez’s future at Anfield. First they claimed Rafa had lost it and there was no chance he would put one over his childhood team in Madrid on Wednesday night. He answered that. And now to put the cherry on the cake today the papers are suggesting contact has been made between Liverpool and Jose Mourinho over his availability to take charge this summer.

David Maddock of The Mirror claims:

Associates of co-owner Tom Hicks have made contact, through a third party, with Mourinho’s agent Jorge Mendes to explore the possibility of a summer move. Frank Rijkaard, AC Milan boss Carlo Ancelotti and former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson are also being checked out.

John Edwards of the Daily Mail also reveals:

Mourinho, who figured prominently on Liverpool’s wanted list when Gerard Houllier was sacked, is clearly in the thoughts of co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett as they bid to find common ground with Benitez.

Paul Joyce of the Daily Express also briefly mentions such a scenario popping up.

Logic suggests a phone call to Inter Milan’s Jose Mourinho would be advisable given the Special One’s apparent interest in returning to the Premier League.

Mourinho and Benitez jostling for position? ‘“ history is indeed repeating itself.

More rubbish from the gutter press or do we have another Jurgen Klinsmann-esque case on our hands. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t put it past our deceiving owners. But at least Rafa has the backing of his players. Both Carragher and Mascherano have come out in the last couple of days to sing the praises of the tactical mastermind. Rory Smith of The Telegraph:

While the saga of Benitez’s new contract has certainly affected Liverpool’s stars more than they would admit, the overwhelming majority remain steadfast in their support for him. The boardroom may be unsure he is worth the trouble after months of wrangling, but the players give the impression they know exactly how integral he is to the club.

Meanwhile there’s worry over the extent of Fernando Torres’ injury sustained on Wednesday night. The Spaniard hobbled off during the second half of the 1-0 victory in Madrid, and the injury could now prove worse than first thought according to the papers. Ian Herbert of The Independent thinks we might not see him in action again until mid-March.

After the euphoria, the home truths. Liverpool are revelling in a 1-0 win over Real Madrid but Fernando Torres may not play again until the title-defining clash with Manchester United on 14 March

Could this latest blow be crucial in our season? James Ducker of The Times believes maybe so.

The news will be warmly greeted by United, who hold a seven-point lead over Liverpool at the top of the table, but with Real to play in the second leg of their first knockout round tie on Tuesday week and a visit to Old Trafford to face the league champions coming four days later, Benítez is eager to ensure that Torres is fit for those matches, which will be pivotal for Liverpool’s season.

And finally, the transfer of Nick Barmby to Liverpool from Everton in 2000 makes number 5 in the Daily Mail’s top football traitors of all time. Now at Hull City, Barmby played 32 games for the Reds after four seasons at Goodison Park.

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