Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has dismissed speculation star striker Fernando Torres could return to action next week. The Spaniard has been out since suffering a knee injury in the shock FA Cup loss to Reading last month.

He is reportedly making good progress in his recovery but Benitez insists any claims he could feature at Manchester City a week on Sunday are premature.

Benitez told the club’s website: “I think it will be too early.

“He is training with the physios and the fitness coach, but he’s still not involved with the team. We will see next week how he progresses.”

Torres, 25, is Liverpool’s top goalscorer with 12 this season despite being restricted to 21 appearances by injuries.

A niggling groin problem curtailed his involvement earlier in the campaign.

Benitez is hoping that vice captain Jamie Carragher will be fit to feature in the Premier League clash at Eastlands.

The veteran defender suffered an adductor injury in the midweek defeat at Arsenal and is unlikely to feature in the Europa League tie against Unirea Urziceni next Thursday.

With Sotirios Kyrgiakos suspended for the next two Premier League games and Glen Johnson still out, Liverpool could be facing a defensive crisis.

Johnson is targeting a return to training within three weeks, having been out of action with a knee problem since the 1-0 win over Aston Villa on December 29th.

The England international admits he feared he had sustained a cruciate ligament knee injury against Villa, but he hopes to return to training in three weeks.

“It’s been frustrating. The worst thing for a footballer is being injured, but now I’m looking forward,” Johnson told the club’s official website. “It was strange. When I did it, it wasn’t much of a tackle, it was more the way the lad (Gabriel Agbonlahor) fell on me.

“I heard something snap in my knee, so I knew it wasn’t good but I wasn’t sure how bad it would be at the time.

Johnson has been able to resume light running and he is hoping to hand Rafa Benitez a boost by returning to action in March.

“I’m definitely over the worst of it now and I’m about two or three weeks away from training, so I’m getting there,” added Johnson. “It’s been like groundhog day – I’ve been doing the same things, working in the gym and doing stability work.

“Every day has been the same for the last two weeks, but now I’ve started to run, things can change.

Read the article on Irish Times

Too early for Torres return – Benitez

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has dismissed speculation star striker Fernando Torres could return to action next week. The Spaniard has been out since suffering a knee injury in the shock FA Cup loss to Reading last month.

He is reportedly making good progress in his recovery but Benitez insists any claims he could feature at Manchester City a week on Sunday are premature.

Benitez told the club’s website: “I think it will be too early.

“He is training with the physios and the fitness coach, but he’s still not involved with the team. We will see next week how he progresses.”

Torres, 25, is Liverpool’s top goalscorer with 12 this season despite being restricted to 21 appearances by injuries.

A niggling groin problem curtailed his involvement earlier in the campaign.

Benitez is hoping that vice captain Jamie Carragher will be fit to feature in the Premier League clash at Eastlands.

The veteran defender suffered an adductor injury in the midweek defeat at Arsenal and is unlikely to feature in the Europa League tie against Unirea Urziceni next Thursday.

With Sotirios Kyrgiakos suspended for the next two Premier League games and Glen Johnson still out, Liverpool could be facing a defensive crisis.

Johnson is targeting a return to training within three weeks, having been out of action with a knee problem since the 1-0 win over Aston Villa on December 29th.

The England international admits he feared he had sustained a cruciate ligament knee injury against Villa, but he hopes to return to training in three weeks.

“It’s been frustrating. The worst thing for a footballer is being injured, but now I’m looking forward,” Johnson told the club’s official website. “It was strange. When I did it, it wasn’t much of a tackle, it was more the way the lad (Gabriel Agbonlahor) fell on me.

“I heard something snap in my knee, so I knew it wasn’t good but I wasn’t sure how bad it would be at the time.

Johnson has been able to resume light running and he is hoping to hand Rafa Benitez a boost by returning to action in March.

“I’m definitely over the worst of it now and I’m about two or three weeks away from training, so I’m getting there,” added Johnson. “It’s been like groundhog day – I’ve been doing the same things, working in the gym and doing stability work.

“Every day has been the same for the last two weeks, but now I’ve started to run, things can change.

Read the article on Irish Times

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