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Oct 19, 2009

Liverpool get Gerrard boost but Torres misses out

Liverpool will have Steven Gerrard back in their ranks for Tuesday night's Champions League showdown with Lyon after he trained on Monday morning, but Fernando Torres misses out again.

The Reds' skipper, along with striker Torres, was forced to sit out Saturday's defeat at Sunderland with a groin injury but has returned to the squad to face the French outfit.

But Torres was again absent from training with Rafael Benitez's side and will not feature against Lyon, although he could play some part in the weekend's game against Manchester United.

"Steven is fit," Benitez told a pre-match press conference. "He has been training so hopefully he will be available tomorrow. It is important as we have had some problems with injuries since the start of the season, so having Gerrard fit is a big boost for us.

"Torres is still not ready. Hopefully he will be for the weekend, but not for this game."

Benitez is eager to put an end to a poor run which has seen Liverpool lose their last three matches against Chelsea, Fiorentina and Sunderland and knows he needs his star duo back to full fitness as soon as possible.

It seems unlikely he will again experiment with the three-man defence used at the Stadium of Light, while Jay Spearing will surely make way for Javier Mascherano after being thrown in for his Premier League debut against the Black Cats.

Benitez, meanwhile, has urged his players to forget about the unfortunate loss on Wearside, courtesy of a Liverpool fan's beach ball, and concentrate on their Champions League task.

"You can guarantee that if we win against Lyon the mood will change, and if we can win against [Manchester] United [Sunday], the mood will be totally different," the boss told the club's official website. "When you are not winning, to play another game quickly and have the opportunity to change things is the best thing.

"We will try to win and then everything will be different. I have a lot of confidence because we are a good team. We have some problems with injuries but the squad as a squad is good enough to win some games. A positive result would be massive for our confidence. The Champions League is a different competition and the players know the fans will be behind them, so it can be a big boost for us.

"The fans know when the team needs support and they are behind us. Our fans are the best in the world, and when we need something they are there pushing us.

"We have some experience here among the staff and some of the players. When you are in the situation we are in, the main thing is to keep calm, analyse what is going on and be ready for the next game.

"Sammy Lee, Mauricio Pellegrino, Xavi Valero and Paco De Miguel - all the people working with the players on the pitch know how to stay calm.

"The only solution when you have a good team is to stay together and work hard. Again I will say that we got 86 points last year, not because we were lucky, but because we did a very good job."

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