Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez has given Fernando Torres a 70 per cent chance of being ready to face his old club. Atletico Madrid, at Anfield.
The Spanish international has missed the Reds’ last five matches because of a thigh strain, and Benítez will make a decision about Torres on the morning of the Group D return game.
“He is 70 per cent ready,” said Benítez. “We have to train, we will talk to him and then decide. If the player has confidence, OK you can take the risk, but if he has no confidence, you have to wait. Clearly he likes to play against anyone, and especially against Atlético. He has a very good relationship with the fans and also with the club.”
Benitez saw his side surrender their three-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Saturday. A stoppage-time goal against Tottenham condemned the Merseysiders to their first defeat of the season.
“We just have to keep doing the same things and try to take our chances and not make mistakes in defence. I’m pleased with all the strikers because we were winning without Fernando,” said Benítez, before adding: “Sometimes we need to be more clinical.”
Both sides are on seven points at the Group D summit, four above PSV Eindhoven, and either could reach the knockout rounds provided they win and PSV lose at Marseille.
Atletico coach Javier Aguirre, who begins a two-match UEFA ban, includes former Liverpool attackers Luis Garcíia and Florent Sinama Pongolle in his squad. Goalkeeper Gregory Coupet returns after a thigh injury. Czech international centre-back Tomas Ujfalusi and Greece defender Giourkas Seitaridis are both out injured.
“We want to play against a fully-fit Fernando Torres so we can measure ourselves to see how we do against a full-strength Liverpool,” said Aguirre. “We have taken this competition so seriously and we have done very well up to now, but we can’t appraise our success until the six games of the first phase have been completed. Whenever I start any game, I go with the intention of winning, whether it’s at home or on any opposition ground.”