The Liverpool striker is expected to be fully fit despite his domestic season ending in mid-April after he underwent a second knee operation in three months. The initial surgery on the torn cartilage in his right knee ruled Torres out for six weeks, and a similar rehabilitation period was expected second time around.
Torres was previously sidelined for a month with a hernia in November but, when fit, he was in terrific goalscoring form and set a club record for reaching 50 league goals in the fewest appearances when he scored the stoppage-time winner against Aston Villa in December. It was his 72nd match.
Torres scored three times at the last World Cup but his most important goal for Spain came in the Euro 2008 final when they beat Germany to lift the trophy, making him a European champion at three age levels, having previously won – and top-scored – at the Under-16 and Under-19 tournaments.
He captained hometown club Atletico Madrid as a 19 year-old and scored 82 goals in 214 league matches prior to his £20m-plus move to Liverpool in July 2007.
Torres has a pre-match ritual of crouching on his haunches shortly before kick-off and staring down the pitch at the opposing goal. He explains it as a visualisation technique: “I try to see the goal and try to think where the ball is going.”
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