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Stones a positive but Everton need a spark

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Norwich pay price

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Gerrard and Torres out

Rafael Benitez has been dealt a huge double injury blow after confirming key men Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres will miss the trip to Sunderland.

•  Premier League team news

Torres suffered an adductor injury while away with Spain on international duty and did not figure in their match against Bosnia-Herzegovina on Wednesday.

Gerrard, meanwhile, had been having treatment for a groin injury sustained on England duty, but after attending Wednesday's victory over Belarus as a spectator he confided to friends that he would not be fit to face Sunderland on Saturday at the Stadium of Light.

And it was left to Benitez to confirm the news on Friday.

"Both Steven and Fernando still have some problems," Benitez told the club's official website. "They will need more time and won't be available this weekend. I think they could be available for next week.

Liverpool will be hoping the pair can return for next week's crucial Champions League clash with Lyon, but as Benitez's side prepare to take on in-form Sunderland, the task of boucning back from the Chelsea defeat a fortnight ago is now more difficult than ever.

As well as having one eye on the Champions League, it won't have escaped Benitez that Manchester United are visiting Anfield next weekend, and the Liverpool boss will be keeping his fingers crossed that his star pair will be fit to face the champions.

The impact pf the injury blow has been softened slightly by news that Greek defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos will return to action within ten days.

The 30-year-old, who has only started one Liverpool match since his £1.5million move to Anfield in the transfer window, was assessed by club medical staff who quashed initial fears of a cruciate ligament damage and six-month lay-off.

"With Kyrgiakos we were really worried because people were talking about maybe six months, but after the scan we think one week to ten days," Benitez said. "That's very positive."

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