Rafa puzzled by criticism of Torres substitution

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Rafa Benitez says he is confused by criticism of his decision to take off Fernando Torres after 63minutes of Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat to Fulham on Saturday.

After scoring the Reds’ equaliser, Torres was taken off just after the hour mark as a precaution with the Spanish striker recently suffering from an adductor injury.

Following the full-time whistle, and a fifth league defeat of the season for Benitez’s side, many fans and press questioned Benitez’s decision to bring the star striker off.

“I was surprised with the critics after the game because Fernando has had problems in the last month after the international games,” Benitez responded today.

“We are trying to manage because he was close to having an operation. Still this morning, two days after the game, he is feeling something.

“He is not comfortable. He has not got the power he had before, so we have to manage and try to protect him. He cannot play well if you keep pushing him. Maybe if you push him he will be injured for a long time.

“So, I am really surprised with the critics. When you talk about big names, people just analyse the names and not how the player is when he is on the pitch. He was not 100 per cent fit.

“We have to take Fernando to Lyon because we don’t have too many options. We have to keep working with him and the rest of the players.”

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