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Page last updated at 16:43 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 17:43 UK

Liverpool's Fernando Torres tipped to return next week

Fernando Torres
Torres has scored 22 goals in all competitions for Liverpool this season

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres could return to action as early as next week, according the Spaniard's specialist.

The 26-year-old has undergone treatment from Dr Ramon Cugat in Spain after a knee problem kept him out of Sunday's 0-0 draw with Fulham.

The Reds play West Ham in the Premier League on Monday and Cugat said: "The problem's not serious but he needs to stop and rest to avoid more risk.

"But in normal circumstances, he could be ready to play next week."

Torres, who joined Liverpool from Atletico Madrid in 2007, has been beset by various injuries this season.


He was sidelined for a month after a knee operation in January and before Christmas struggled with a groin injury.

Cugat, who supervised the striker's return from recent hamstring trouble, told the Liverpool Echo of the latest problem: "It depends how it settles down.

"The decision is now up to Liverpool's medical staff and the manager."

Another significant match for Liverpool is the Europa League semi-final first leg at Torres' former club Atletico Madrid on 22 April.

Benitez admits defeat in race for fourth

Torres, who has scored 22 goals in all competitions this season, is an integral part of Liverpool's plans, but manager Rafael Benitez has admitted his side are virtually out of the Champions League qualifying race.

"To finish in the top four is now very difficult," said Benitez. "The difference is maybe too much."

The Reds boss has always vowed that the Merseysiders would finish in the top four in the Premier League, but that promise now looks unlikely to be fulfilled with his side six points behind fourth-place Manchester City having played one game more.

"We know the fourth position is a little bit far away," added Benitez, whose team has been devilled by inconsistency this season.

"We have to keep going but two or three teams have to make mistakes."

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see also
Sunday's football photos
11 Apr 10 |  Football
Sunday football as it happened
11 Apr 10 |  Football
Liverpool 0-0 Fulham
11 Apr 10 |  Premier League
Man City 5-1 Birmingham
11 Apr 10 |  Premier League
Benitez admits Liverpool mistakes
07 Apr 10 |  Liverpool
Liverpool need six wins - Torres
29 Mar 10 |  Liverpool
Reds say Benitez will not be axed
25 Nov 09 |  Liverpool
Torres knee operation rocks Reds
14 Jan 10 |  Liverpool

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