Torres vows to be fit for crunch clashes

Fernando Torres has vowed that he will be firing on all cylinders for Liverpool's upcoming showdowns with Real Madrid and Manchester United.

Liverpool entertain Spanish giants Real on Tuesday looking to defend a 1-0 first leg lead and book their place in the last eight of the UEFA Champions League. Four days later, Torres and Co. travel to Old Trafford for a Premier League match they must win to have any chance of reigniting the title battle.

Torres has not played since he suffered an ankle injury in the first leg in Madrid, but he revealed that his recovery was progressing well. "I hope to be available for both of the matches because they will be two great games," Torres said.

"The ankle injury has been giving me some trouble and the recovery process is taking longer than I hoped. However, I am quite optimistic that I will be ready for the match versus Real Madrid, and if the ankle holds out, I will also be at Old Trafford."

Torres has also given a cool response to manager Rafael Benitez's suggestion that the injuries which have blighted his season have cost Liverpool their chance of winning the league for the first time since 1990.

My wish is that Rafa extends his contract with Liverpool. I cannot think about how a possible departure might affect me.
Fernando Torres on his Anfield future.

"I don't think that my injury should be considered as a reason for Liverpool not winning the league," he said. "Although following a couple of poor results we have lost touch with Manchester United at the top, the team has done well this season. The league though is still alive, but Man United are looking strong and they are not dropping points."

Torres, who was speaking in a webchat on his personal site, also insisted that his future at Anfield was not linked to Benitez's. Bookmakers have stopped taking bets on the manager no longer being at Liverpool next season but Torres will be sticking around regardless of who is in charge.

"My future is tied with Liverpool, because I still have four years left to run on my contract," he said. "Therefore, should Rafa leave, I will stay on and fulfil my contract with the club. My wish is that Rafa extends his contract with Liverpool. I cannot think about how a possible departure might affect me, because it hasn't happened yet, and I don't like wasting time thinking about ifs and buts."

Liverpool have the ideal preparation for next week's testing encounters with their early exit from the FA Cup meaning they have no match this weekend.