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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 February 2008, 22:10 GMT
Torres ruled out of Chelsea match
Fernando Torres is tackled by Lilian Thuram in Malaga
Torres was replaced by Daniel Guiza after Thuram's tackle
Liverpool striker Fernando Torres will miss his side's Premier League game against Chelsea on Sunday.

Torres had been hopeful of recovering from a hamstring injury sustained in Spain's win over France on Wednesday.

But the 23-year-old will be out for 10 days, and so also miss the FA Cup clash with Barnsley on 16 February, much to boss Rafael Benitez's disappointment.

"We have three big games in 10 days in three competitions and we have lost our top goalscorer," said Benitez.

"It is difficult to be calm about it. This was another international friendly in a busy period for clubs at this time of the season.

"It is crazy enough that they go away and have different training systems, diets, new ideas. Then they get injured."

606: DEBATE

Torres was forced off the field in the 22nd minute after a challenge from France's Lilian Thuram in the 1-0 victory.

His absence is a huge blow for Benitez, who is already without five key players for the trip to west London.

Torres - Liverpool's top scorer with 18 goals so far this season - joins Daniel Agger, Andriy Voronin, Alvaro Arbeloa and Fabio Aurelio in the treatment room, while midfielder Xabi Alonso is unavailable through suspension.

And Benitez also faces an anxious wait on the return of Javier Mascherano, who flew to Los Angeles for Argentina's friendly against Guatemala on Thursday evening.

"Any friendly should be just that," said Benitez. "You cannot play Guatemala in Los Angeles like Argentina have done, it is crazy.

"OK, so they won 5-0, but Javier will not be back with us until Friday."

Torres signed from Atletico Madrid last summer for a club record fee believed to be around 26m.

He has now become invaluable to the out-of-form side and will be a major loss if he cannot face Chelsea as Liverpool chase Champions League qualification via a top four finish.

SEE ALSO
Liverpool 3-0 Sunderland
02 Feb 08 |  Premier League


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