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Rediff.com  » Sports » Liverpool ready to call on Torres factor

Liverpool ready to call on Torres factor

November 03, 2008 13:13 IST

Liverpool are banking on the expected return of Fernando Torres against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday to end a dismal record against Spanish sides at Anfield and fire them into the last 16 of the Champions League.

Torres missed the trip to his old club two weeks ago when a 1-1 draw left Liverpool and Atletico level at the top of Group D with seven points and favourites to progress.

Liverpool have made light of the absence of Torres who has not played since injuring his hamstring on international duty last month, going stride for stride with Chelsea at the top of the Premier League.

On Saturday, however, his lethal finishing was badly missed when Liverpool failed to convert numerous chances to kill off Tottenham Hotspur before losing 2-1, a defeat that cost them top spot after just one week.

"Hopefully he will be ready," manager Rafael Benitez told the club's website (www.liverpoolfc.tv).

"If he cannot start the game then he will be on the bench if everything is okay."

Anfield is a daunting stadium for visiting sides but those arriving from Spain often find it to their liking.

Liverpool have failed to win any of their last five Champions League home fixtures against Spanish clubs and did not even manage a goal in the last four.

LOST MOMENTUM

Benitez knows it is time to put that statistic to bed and quickly recover the momentum of a promising season after losing their unbeaten league record at the weekend.

"It's good we have another important game on Tuesday and the reaction of the players has to be to play well and win the game," he said after the defeat by Spurs.

Atletico coach Javier Aguirre's decision to bring Sergio Aguero back into his starting line-up on Saturday paid off with the Argentina forward scoring twice in a 2-0 Primera Liga victory at home to Real Mallorca.

It was Atletico's first league win in five matches and followed a battling 4-4 draw at Villarreal the previous weekend for which Aguero was rested.

"The win against Mallorca was a relief," Aguirre said on Atletico's website (www.clubatleticodemadrid.com).

"We are out of intensive care but we are still under observation," he said, adding that Aguero would be in the squad for the Liverpool tie but still had work to do on his fitness.

"He still needs two weeks of specific work," Aguirre said. "I'll take him to Liverpool but he'll continue to work intensively. He's fresher but there is still more to do."

Goalkeeper Gregory Coupet has recovered from injury and is in the squad for Tuesday, but defenders Tomas Ujfalusi and Giourkas Seitaridis are both out.

Probable teams:

Liverpool: 25-Pepe Reina; 17-Alvaro Arbeloa, 23-Jamie Carragher, 5-Daniel Agger, 2-Andrea Dossena; 14-Xabi Alonso, 20-Javier Mascherano, 8-Steven Gerrard, 19-Ryan Babel; 18-Dirk Kuyt, 7-Robbie Keane

Atletico Madrid: 25-Leo Franco; 3-Antonio Lopez, 5-John Heitinga, 21-Luis Perea, 4-Mariano Pernia; 11-Maxi Rodriguez, 12-Paulo Assuncao, 18-Maniche, 20-Simao Sabrosa; 7-Diego Forlan, 10-Sergio Aguero or 14-Florent Sinama-Pongolle

Referee: Martin Hansson (Sweden)

Martyn Herman
Source:
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