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Sep 16, 2010

Hodgson: Torres still fully committed to Reds

Roy Hodgson insists Fernando Torres is fully focused on Liverpool despite recent criticism of his form.

Liverpool v Steaua preview

Former Reds midfielder Jamie Redknapp accused Torres of "a lack of effort" after his performance in the 0-0 draw with Birmingham at the weekend, adding: "He's shown no appetite for the game. He's looked frustrated, sloppy, lethargic."

Hodgson, though, says that, while Torres will have to put up with negative coverage, questions over his commitment to the club are wide of the mark.

"I'm afraid criticism is something he will have to learn to live with," Hodgson said. "We bear strong expectations at this club and everyone is interested in us. We fill newspapers and fill air time. Everything that happens at the club is put under a microscope and that includes player performances.

"Fernando Torres has no problems with that. He's an excellent player and is very much committed and focused on this season. It's very wrong for people to read into his state of mind from watching 90 minutes of football.

"I think you'd have to be some wonder psychologist to do that. I can't watch a player and tell you what state of mind he is in."

Torres may be given a rest for the Europa League clash against Steaua Bucharest on Thursday as Liverpool head to Manchester United on Sunday.

"I shall make changes to the team for the game against Steaua," Hodgson said. "There's no question of that - it's something I've planned all along.

"I don't think there is any point of having a squad of 25 players, many of whom are internationals, and then just trying to play the same 11 every game."

He added: "To play the number of games that we have to play, you have to change the team, but every time someone changes the team and the team doesn't win, the selection is criticised."

Liverpool have only two absentees through injury for Thursday's game.

"We've still got to wait for Dirk Kuyt and Fabio Aurelio, but luckily so far we're not picking up injuries, so I've got quite a big squad to choose from," Hodgson said.

"It's up to me to try and choose a team tomorrow that will firstly win the game and secondly possibly give some of the players that are going to be needed to play against Manchester United a well-deserved break."

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