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Laurens: Pastore matures for PSG

Ligue 1 15 hours ago
Read
Nov 3, 2008

Liverpool striker Torres to return against Atletico?

Rafa Benitez will leave the decision to Fernando Torres over whether the striker will play against his former club Atletico Madrid on Tuesday.

Torres has missed the Reds' last five matches after suffering a hamstring injury on international duty with Spain last month and failed to recover in time to take a place on the bench in Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Tottenham.

Liverpool welcome Atletico to Anfield in the Champions League and Benitez is keen to have Torres back in his plans, although admits it is up to the striker.

"Fernando has been working really, really hard and doing good work with the physios," Benitez told the club's official website.

"He trained yesterday and will train again today and then we will see. I would say he has a 70 per cent chance of featuring in the game.

When asked whether he would take any risks with Torres' fitness, Benitez replied on Sky Sports News: "It depends at the end on the player. If the player is confident you can take a risk, but if the player has no confidence you have to wait.

"If he has confidence tomorrow he can be there. It's not a question of taking a risk and it's not a question of delaying a decision or waiting. If he's ready he has to play as soon as possible."

Torres picked up the injury while playing for Spain last month, but Benitez does not believe the forward will suffer from hamstring problems on a regular basis.

He added: "No, I don't think there will be a problem. He had the problem before. We know we have to change things when he's going away with the national team and we are in contact with the Spanish fitness coach.''

Benitez also claimed Torres should be named this year's Ballon D'Or winner.

Torres, who scored Spain's winner in the Euro 2008 final and 24 league goals in his debut season in England, trails Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United and Barcelona's Lionel Messi among the favourites for the Dec. 2 gong, but has the backing of his manager.

"Fernando would be my selection," Benitez said. "He has scored a lot of goals and won the Euros with Spain. Ronaldo is also a very good player but I choose Fernando."

Meanwhile, Atletico coach Javier Aguirre's decision to bring Sergio Aguero back into his starting line-up on Saturday paid off with the Argentina forward scoring twice in a 2-0 Primera Liga victory at home to Real Mallorca.

It was Atletico's first league win in five matches and followed a battling 4-4 draw at Villarreal the previous weekend for which Aguero was rested.

"The win against Mallorca was a relief," Aguirre said on Atletico's website.

"We are out of intensive care but we are still under observation," he said, adding that Aguero would be in the squad for the Liverpool tie but still had work to do on his fitness.

"He still needs two weeks of specific work," Aguirre said. "I'll take him to Liverpool but he'll continue to work intensively. He's fresher but there is still more to do."

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