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Europa League round of 16 draw

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Spain won't take Fernando Torres risk

Vicente del Bosque has told Rafael Benitez he will not take an unnecessary risk over the fitness of Fernando Torres in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier between Spain and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Torres played 53 minutes for his country in Saturday's 2-1 victory over Armenia but has been struggling with an adductor problem in recent days and is a doubt as Spain look to conclude their successful campaign in Group Five by maintaining their 100% record.

With Spain's qualification already secured and Bosnia guaranteed a play-off place, Wednesday's fixture in Zenica is relatively meaningless and Benitez is understandably concerned that Torres could aggravate his injury. The striker has suffered fitness problems during international breaks in the past and is currently Liverpool's leading scorer with eight goals in his first eight games of the season.

But Del Bosque is adamant he will treat Torres with caution and has contacted Benitez to calm his fears directly.

"Torres is in very good hands here,'' Del Bosque told AS. "Yesterday he stayed at the hotel and did not train because we went to a pitch in which there was no stretcher. He stayed at the hotel with the physios.

"(Liverpool manager) Rafa Benitez has called me and I reassured him. We will care very much for Torres, like the rest. I told him that we will treat Torres as if he was at Liverpool. If the boy is well and wants to play, he will play against Bosnia. And if he has any problem, he will not play. It's that simple.''

Meanwhile, Liverpool have confirmed that captain Steven Gerrard will remain with England ahead of Wednesday's game with Belarus. The midfielder was substituted at half-time of Saturday's defeat to Ukraine but his groin problem has not been deemed sufficiently serious to warrant his withdrawal.


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