Sunday 21 January 2018

Torres unlikely to get Europa start

RAFAEL BENITEZ is not expected to risk starting with Fernando Torres for Liverpool's Europa League second-leg tie against Unirea in Bucharest on Thursday, despite the striker having come through 15 minutes at Manchester City without any recurrence of his injury problems.

Torres is likely to be on the bench, with David Ngog having recovered from the twisted ankle his manager has said he sustained before the 0-0 draw at Eastlands, despite the fact that Liverpool -- who are 1-0 up from the first leg at Anfield -- have mustered a mere nine goals in 10 games since the turn of the year.

The unexpected decision to play Torres against City was a response to the intensity of his training the previous day.

"Our idea early on Saturday morning was 'no chance' but he was tackling, challenging, going to the floor," Benitez said.

"It was very encouraging but Fernando will need to improve his match fitness and Yossi (Benayoun) is the same," Benitez said.

Javier Mascherano, meanwhile, will not face a violent conduct charge for his challenge on Gareth Barry in which his studs appeared to rake the England midfielder's leg.

Irish Independent

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