Benitez defends Torres critics

Rafa Benitez has responded to criticism amongst the fans and media of striker Fernando Torres’ performance during Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat to Tottenham on Sunday.

Torres came in for some unsavoury comments when he appeared tired and sluggish during the Reds’ opening Premier League game of the season in North London.

But Benitez says the 25-year-old Spaniard needs time to reach match fitness and has called for patience on all his players who were involved in international football over the summer.

“The summer has been difficult for some players,” he said. “The Spanish players and Dossena have been training for maybe 15 days, no more. They want to be fit but it’s not easy. Maybe physically they can be more or less ready but then you need match fitness and you need to play games.

“Torres is not tired but match fitness is something you can only get during the season.”

Meanwhile Benitez has hinted that Martin Skrtel could play in tomorrow’s game against Stoke City at Anfield, despite the defender suffering from a cracked jaw. [Full Story]