Liverpool striker Fernando Torres is to see a specialist on Monday to assess the injury that ruled him out of the 0-0 draw with Fulham at Anfield.
The 26-year-old’s knee complaint is the latest blow for Liverpool, whose manager, Rafael Benitez, has virtually conceded his side are out of the Champions League qualifying race.
Benitez said: “Torres has gone to see a specialist and we’re waiting for news.
“To finish in the top four is now very difficult,” added the Liverpool boss. “The difference is maybe too much.”
The 26-year-old Torres, who is hoping to be Spain’s first-choice striker for this summer’s World Cup, was sidelined for a month after a knee operation in January and before Christmas struggled with a groin injury.
“We don’t know really, it depends on the specialists,” added Benitez. “He had a problem before and we were trying to protect him.”
Benitez has previously guaranteed that Liverpool would finish in the top-four in the Premier League, but that pledge now looks unlikely given that his side six points behind fourth-placed Manchester City who have a game in hand over their Merseyside rivals.
“We know the fourth position is a little bit far away,” said Benitez, whose team has been devilled by inconsistency this season. “We have to keep going but two or three teams have to make mistakes.”